Letters

The College of Health supports reform, not abolition, of community health councils.

Peter Walsh ('Another brick in the wall', 1 November) is right to complain that public views on the abolition of CHCs were ignored.

Indeed, the College of Health added its voice to many others in protesting at this precipitate act, and we too were ignored.

Sadly, we were not commissioned to run meetings and interview stakeholders. Nor did we produce a report called Shifting Gears - towards a 21st century NHS, which was produced by consultancy firm the Office for Public Management.

What we did do is get together with the Long-Term Medical Conditions Alliance and the Patients Forum to propose that if and when new local patient representative structures were introduced, there would be a need for a new national body to support the local structures and give them a national voice.

We jointly obtained funding to examine this proposition, consulted widely, and produced a report reflecting this consultation, which was written by Christine Hogg and Lindsey Graham, and entitled Patient and Public Involvement in the NHS - what is needed at national level?

This has not in any way lessened our concern at the way CHCs are to be abolished rather than reinvigorated and strengthened.

Both the college's director, Marianne Rigge, and I have made this plain on many public occasions.

Graham Lister Chair The College of Health