Two major patients' organisations have expressed anger after they were left out of a Department of Health advisory group drawing up new guidance on getting patients' consent to treatment.
Patient Concern and the Patients' Association have not been invited to join the group, although organisations representing elderly people, children and mentally handicapped people have been included.
Patient Concern director Roger Goss said: 'On the one subject where we may have more to contribute than on anything else, they do not want to give us the time of day, ' he said.
'I find that worrying at a time when the issue of consent has hit the fan.'
A spokesperson for the Patients' Association agreed: 'We would have liked to be represented. We are asking for a national consent form - and not just one with boxes that you tick.'
The advisory group was set up after the government promised to review consent procedures and bring in changes this year.
The NHS plan promised to 'involve patients and their representatives fully in this review, so that the changes we make have the confidence of all those who use the NHS'.
A DoH spokesman said the 'good practice in consent initiative' would produce guidance for health professionals, patients' leaflets and a model consent form stressing that consent was an on-going process, not a one-off 'box-ticking' exercise.
'There is invariably conflict between involving as many people as possible and keeping an advisory group manageable, ' he added.
Three patient organisations were included on the group - Age Concern England, Mencap and Action for Sick Children.
Other patient groups would be asked to comment on draft guidance and patient leaflets, he added.