Welsh health secretary Jane Hutt has backed away from imposing a single model for community health councils in Wales. A new structure will allow 20 CHCs to develop different federal models.

Former Welsh first secretary Alun Michael said he wanted CHCs reorganised into federations last year, and indicated an increase from 22 to 28 CHCs.

But CHCs developed diverse models, with those in rural areas expressing doubt about federation because of the distances and diverse health interests involved.

There will now be three models: a 'parent' approach, with area committees under a single CHC; individual CHCs within a federation structure, with shared offices and staff; and individual offices, working as federations within their health authority area.