I read with interest Ian Semmons' letter (20 September) and totally agree with his sentiments.

Portsmouth Hospitals trust has had a patient forum since 1998, and one of its strengths is that the representatives are patients without any agenda except the concerns of patients. The members have been recruited via 'constructive complainants' or patients who have a particular interest in the trust. Not all members want to be nonexecutives on the board but do want to contribute, and have worked with the staff on projects to promote patient care.

This includes a patient survey, with questions selected by the patient forum, not from those provided by the alternative 'bank questions' that can be selected as indicated in guidance from the national user survey.

This method has worked well.

The suggested patient forums are yet another layer of inspections, bureaucracy and teams of people with clipboards.

Involving patients and the public in healthcare should be led by the patient and not governed by the government.

Julia Massey Hon. secretary Patient experience forum Portsmouth Hospitals trust