The National Association of Councils for Voluntary Service has criticised the tendering process for voluntary organisations wishing to run the new NHS patient forums for being disorganised and too competitive.
The Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health said it has been overwhelmed by enquiries from the voluntary sector about the new forums, which are intended to offer patients a say in how the health service is run.
But in a letter sent last week to the Commission's chief executive Laura McMurtrie, NACVS said members had been invited to tender for areas beyond their charitable objects, to tender for NHS trusts which no longer exist, and to bid against each other when they expressed an interest together.
A spokesman for the Commission said: "Our role includes an obligation to ensure that the tendering process takes place on a level playing field. Everybody seeking to tender is doing so to the same criteria."