Local involvement networks are not being given enough support despite commitments in the government’s response to the Mid Staffordshire scandal, it has been claimed.

The National Association of LINks Members said the groups, set up to replace public and patient involvement forums from April last year, needed more resources and an independent organisation to support them.

Chair Malcolm Alexander said it was unclear which national body was meant to support them, resulting in them being “passed from pillar to post”.

Mr Alexander said: “The government has systematically undermined public involvement in the NHS and must wake up to the consequence.

“Local involvement networks must be given real independence, sufficient resources and a commitment to a long term role in the NHS.”

In its response to reviews following the Healthcare Commission report on “appalling” care at Mid Staffordshire foundation trust, the government said it would give them “extra support” including an awareness campaign, and require NHS organisations to publish annual statements on involvement.

Previously the Department of Health said support for a national group was “not something that DH should impose centrally”.