Liberal Democrats have urged the government to abandon its decision to abolish community health councils and reform them instead.

Following an emergency debate at their annual conference in Bournemouth last week, the party supported a motion paying tribute to the work of CHCs and condemning the government's planned replacements as 'fragmented and ill-conceived. '

The motion was moved by John Beanse, chair of Waltham Forest CHC, who said the abolition of CHCs had been 'slipped into the NHS plan with no consultation'.

'It was only a year ago that prime minister Tony Blair said we were doing a great job and now we are being abolished, 'he said.

'What we offer is day in, day out scrutiny of the NHS. We are dedicated to that task. The replacements will not have that. '

Mr Beanse hoped the issue would be taken forward by the party's parliamentary team and MPs. The abolition of CHCs will require primary legislation.

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