[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 June, 2005, 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK
Health body in pledge to patients
Medical form
The new body will not deal with individual patient grievances
A new health service body is being launched which aims to act as a champion of the public and patients.

The Scottish Health Council replaces a network of 15 local health councils which were scrapped earlier this year.

The new organisation promises to have a weightier role in ensuring proper consultation with the public.

However, some health campaigners believe the council is not truly independent and will not take patient views into account.

Margaret Hinds, vice-chairwoman of the Scottish Health Campaigns Network Margaret Hinds, said she was sceptical about whether it could be successful.

She said: "As far as we can understand, the remit is nothing to do with patients and with the people.

Health services that listen and pay close attention to the people they serve deliver better care
Brian Beacom
Scottish Health Council chairman

"It is to do with looking at health boards and how they consult. How can this new health council look at the situation, look at all the health boards around the country without input from patients and without input from the population affected?

"An independent body ought to have been set up, they should be seen as totally independent and I don't think they are."

The council, which began work on 1 April but is officially launched on Tuesday by Deputy Health Minister Rhona Brankin, will not deal with individual patient grievances.

Advice to ministers

Instead, it will focus on ensuring that the public and patients can make their views known to health boards and that those boards take those views into account.

The council will also advise ministers on whether health boards have properly consulted the public on major changes to services.

If not, it can ask boards to carry out the consultation again.

The council will have a national office in Glasgow and a local office in each health board area, each with its own advisory council of up to 15 volunteers.

The council's chairman, Brian Beacom, has insisted that the body is independent and its members have been independently appointed.

Monitoring pledge

He added: "The establishment of the health council is good news for patients and all those who want to see a health service in Scotland that truly listens to and learns from patients' views.

"Health services that listen and pay close attention to the people they serve deliver better care, and the Scottish Health Council will be monitoring health boards closely to ensure that this happens."

Ms Brankin said the body could play a key part in delivering a more patient-focused NHS at local level.

"From today, we will have a new process to deliver an NHS which actively seeks the views of patients and uses them to drive forward quality improvement," she said.


SEE ALSO:
Watchdog hails NHS culture change
09 Jun 05 |  Scotland
What do you want from the NHS?
25 May 05 |  Scotland
Critics intensify hospital battle
23 May 05 |  Scotland
Health board goes under the knife
19 May 05 |  Scotland
Hospital review gets under way
09 Nov 04 |  Scotland
Expert reviews healthcare system
18 Oct 04 |  Scotland


RELATED BBC LINKS:

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific