Published: 10/01/2001, Volume 112, No. 5787 Page 8

The role of community health councils in Wales is to be strengthened, even though the government in England has pledged to abolish them.Welsh health minister Jane Hutt said: 'Because the existing network of CHCs is already well integrated and locally based, it is well placed to fit into the new structure and play a leading role.The work that the councils do and the potential that exists for strengthening their roles is a central component of our public involvement strategy as set out in Improving Health in Wales .'The latest announcement, which will be open to consultation, follows a review of CHCs in Wales.But Ms Hutt stressed that the number of councils would remain the same.