HC Deb 30 November 1994 vol 250 cc790-1W
Mr. Redmond

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will set up a working party to examine and report to the House within the next 12 months on the feasibility of introducing a properly funded and independent advocacy service for all national health service complainants; and if she will make a statement;

(2) if she will ensure (a) that a full range of appropriate independent advocacy services based on existing local interest groups are available to all national health service patients who require such a service with support from joint finance and (b) that it is a statutory duty of regional and district health authorities to have strategies supporting independent advocacy initiatives and financially support advocacy services; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Malone

The Government welcome the initiative of those national health service authorities and trusts which have already set up their own patient advocacy and patient friend schemes to encourage and support patients including those who are not able to represent themselves in pursuing complaints, making suggestions about and seeking NHS services. "Being Heard", copies of which are available in the Library, the report of the Wilson committee on NHS complaints procedures, recognised the importance of providing support to complainants and the role of community health councils in doing so. We are currently considering the responses to the consultation exercise on the report and will make an announcement on our decisions in due course.