Last update 5th. July 2004
I totally agree. The last thing we want is for patient and public involvement in the NHS to end or become even more ineffective than it is now. In the short term criticism of the NHS may embarrass the government. I have to ask how much more it would be embarrassed if a major scandal went undiscovered for years for the lack of scrutiny.
We need scrutiny that is at least as good as the best CHCs provided in the past and, preferably, better. I always had grave doubts about using the voluntary sector as a contractor. My fear was that single-interest groups might have single interests. Money intended for scrutiny could be siphoned off to serve their own ends and scrutiny could become biased to their own ends. In practice what seems to have happened is even worse. They seem to have taken on a number of part-timers of very variable quality to serve this new demand.
With a commission that has proved not up to the job at its top end and contractors who are not doing the job at the bottom end, the result has been an awful mess. Perhaps it can still be redeemed but we will all have to work hard at this.