Councils comprise a third of bodies in new patient forums

Local councils for voluntary service make up about a third of the 68 voluntary organisations chosen to support the Government's new patient forums, it was announced last week.

Other charities such as Age Concern branches, Citizens Advice Bureaux, the Shaw Trust and Scope have also won contracts as local network providers for the 574 forums, which are intended to monitor the work of every NHS Trust and Primary Care Trust.

But according to the National Association of Councils for Voluntary Service, many more councils wanted to support the forums, but were deterred by the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, the Government quango responsible for setting up the forum.

NACVS director of development Dianne Leyland said: "About 90 bodies originally tendered, but many withdrew along the way because they felt the commission was making unrealistic demands and putting cost before quality."

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