New Community Health Council Structure unwieldy and bureaucratic

2009 Tachwedd 26 2:38 PM

Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Minister, Peter Black, has criticised the proposed new structure for Community Health Councils in Wales as cumbersome, bureaucratic and unwieldy. Mr. Black was responding to a written statement issued by the Health Minister last night in which she proposed reducing the existing 23 Community Health Councils to eight, but has inserted another tier of 21 local committees answerable to an area executive, effectively creating a huge bureaucracy without being clear as to the role of either or which will take precedence on local issues. Mr. Black commented: "There is no logic in reinventing the wheel in this way. This focus on structure as opposed to effective scrutiny is very worrying and will prove confusing and ineffective. "What will be the role of the local committee, how will they interact with local councils and who will take precedence when there is a dispute between the local representatives and the area health council executive on the appropriate response to a particular health issue? "I believe that it is important to retain a local voice in scrutinising the new health boards, especially as that has been lost due to the size of those bodies. The Minister should have kept the existing 23 CHCs, beefed up their scrutiny role with wider powers and better training, and empowered local Council scrutiny committees to question health officials so as to look at how we can improve the co-ordination between health and social services. "Instead the Minister has produced a command-and-control model that will collapse under the weight of its own contradictions."

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