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Written Statement - Review of Community Health Councils

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Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Health and Social Services

Community Health Councils fulfil an important role in providing a voice for patients and in monitoring the NHS throughout Wales.  On their inception in April 2010, the previous Minister for Health and Social Services announced a review of Community Health Councils should be undertaken two years after their inception. I have decided this review will commence in April 2012 and be undertaken by Professor Marcus Longley of the Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care.

The terms of reference of the Review are:

Working with stakeholders, including Community Health Councils, Local Health Boards and Trusts, Local Authorities, the Third Sector, NHS Confederation, Health Bodies such as PHW, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales, the Children’s Commissioner and the Older People’s Commissioner, the review will:

  • undertake a root and branch review of the governance of Community Health Councils and, in particular, to make recommendations on
    • the operational structure 
    • lines of accountability including links to the Welsh Government
    • the role and responsibilities of the Director of the Board of Community Health Councils 
    • the membership structure and the appointment processes
    • making effective use of Third Sector and Local Authorities membership
  • recommend where and how we need to develop Community Health Councils, including the members, into ‘professional’ organisations which fit the strategic needs of ‘Together for Health’
  • review how Community Health Councils and Health Boards are working together for the benefit of people in Wales including how they fulfil their statutory obligations
  • review what we are getting for our money and  where Community Health Councils can be more efficient
  • identify good practice examples within the Community Health Councils which need to be more widely adopted and how this can be done
  • review and make recommendations on any future developments on their “critical friend” role in relation to Health Boards, including acting as the ‘patients’ voice
  • consider their relationship with the Welsh Government and other bodies including Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales, the Children’s Commissioner and the Older People’s Commissioner  
  • consider how the Advocacy Service should be provided in the future.

I anticipate the review will report to me in June. This will be followed by formal consultations on its recommendations over the summer.  I will report the findings of the review to the Assembly in the Autumn.