In a heated debate in the House of Commons late tonight on the Health and Social Care Bill, Michael Fabricant told health ministers that they were throwing out the baby with the bath water by abolishing independent Community Health Councils which protect the interests of patients against malpractice by the NHS.
"The South East Staffordshire Community Health Council (based in Lichfield) and other CHCs provide a valuable and independent service standing up for patients who feel they have been badly treated by the NHS. The Government plans to abolish them and replace them with "Patients Forums" which will be a part of the NHS, a part of Government, and will not truly represent the interests of patients against the NHS machine which can afford to hire lawyers and use all the machinery of the State. The Government is steam rolling democracy in the NHS totally disregarding the wishes of patients", says Michael Fabricant
A compromise amendment drawn up by a Labour rebel MP was adopted by the House of Commons though it was opposed by Michael Fabricant as it did not preserve the independence of CHCs. The fight to protect CHCs now moves to the House of Lords where a Conservative amendment to keep CHCs independent will be moved.