Following plans to scrap community health councils without consultation comes hurried consultation on 'Voices'.

Perhaps the real problem is too many voices and not enough ears. About the only 'voice' missing from those who do not think that scrapping CHCs is a good move appears to be the government's.

Even here, most of the voices are those of bodies like the British Medical Association and the General Medical Council.

Patients do not seem to count for much in the NHS, so it is no surprise that they will be absent from the 'Voices'.

I had hoped that proposals this unpopular and expensive would, at least, be good. They are not.

Much of the argument for scrapping CHCs was based on them being insufficiently democratic, so I had expected that their replacement would be very democratic indeed. This did not exactly spring out of the page and hit me.

Patient forums appear to be made up of appointees. 'Voices' seem to be health professionals. I could not find any reference to members of patient forums being elected.

Passing scrutiny functions to local authorities overlooks the fact that councillors are already very busy and seldom have much interest or expertise in healthcare. It also overlooks the potential clash of interest when people scrutinise their work.

There is much emphasis on things being 'inside the NHS'.

Surely this is the same as lacking independence. Yet again, there is an attempt to impose something in a hurry that nobody wants.

Half the new structures having been built before any real consultation has added to the problem, cost and confusion. I cannot see why all the advantages claimed for the new structures could not have been obtained more cheaply and effectively by increasing CHC powers and funding.

If I have to hear voices, I wish they would say something a little more sensible than this.

Councillor John C Murphy Hounslow CHC member