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1. Who funds the CPPIH and its activity?

CPPIH is funded by the Department of Health and reports to the Secretary of State for Health.

2. What are the functions of Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Forums?

They will have a number of primary roles, which include:

  • Obtaining views from local communities about health services and make recommendations and reports
  • Making reports and recommendations on the range and day to  day delivery of health services
  • Influence the design of and access to NHS services
  • Providing advice and information to patients and their carers about services

PPI Forums will work together to share experiences and to address common issues.       

3. What are the key differences between PPI Forums and Community Health Councils (CHCs)?

  • The most obvious difference is numerical strength - about 200 CHCs as against nearly 600 PPI Forums.
  • PPI Forums have been established for each NHS Trust or PCT (including Foundation Trusts). CHCs were established to match Health Authority boundaries which, in some cases, changed or merged. 
  • The monitoring and inspection role of PPI Forums is more extensive than that of CHCs. PPI Forums have the statutory right to monitor family practitioner services (GPs, dentists). CHCs did not have this right.

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  • Unlike PPI Forums, CHCs did not have the statutory right to monitor private health provision contracted by NHS.
  • PPI Forums have the support of a National Commission (CPPIH), set up by Act of Parliament (NHS Reform and Healthcare Professions Act 2002). The Commission has a statutory role to advise the Government and national organisations on issues of patient and public involvement in health. CHCs also had a national body (ACHCEW) but did not have statutory powers.


4. Is this system for England only - what happens in Ireland , Scotland and Wales ?

Yes - the devolved regions will have their own solutions for patient and public involvement. For general information:

  • Scotland's Health on the Web (SHOW)
  • Health of Wales Information Services (HOWIS)
  • Northern Ireland - Health and Social Services website for Northern Ireland

5. How are plans for the Independent Complaints and Advocacy Service (ICAS) developing?

There are four ICAS contracts, which ensure the provision of the service across England until early 2005.

Since September 2003 ICAS staff have been supporting their clients and working with NHS trusts to resolve complaints and effect NHS service improvements.

For more information about the ICAS network

click here

6. What is the role of the Regional Centres?

The Regional Centres have been established to support and develop the work of the CPPIH locally and regionally. They will:

  • Establish a locally sensitive and well-supported system of public involvement
  • Support and performance manage FSOs
  • Support Forums
  • Build relationships with a diverse range of stakeholders
  • Assist in access to information
  • Carry out on-going recruitment for PPI forums

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7. What is an Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC)?

Overview and Scrutiny Committees of all local authorities with social services responsibilities (county councils, London Borough Councils and unitary authorities) have the power to examine health services. This contributes to local authorities' wider role in health improvement and reducing health inequalities for their area and their populations.

OSCs have the power to:

  • take on the role of scrutiny of the NHS - not just major changes but the ongoing operation and planning of services;
  • refer contested service changes to the Secretary of State for Health;
  • summon NHS managers to give information about services and decisions;
  • report their recommendations locally;
  • be consulted by the NHS where there are to be major changes to health services.

8. What is a Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)?

NHS trusts and Primary Care Trusts have Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) providing on the spot help and information about health services. PALS also provide information about Independent Complaints dvocacy Services (ICAS) and availability.

The role of PALS is:

  • to resolve patients' concerns on the spot before they become major problems;
  • to provide information to patients, carers and their families about local health services and put people in contact with local support groups (a similar role to PPIFs);
  • telling people about the NHS complaints procedure and inform people about independent complaints advocacy support;
  • to act as an early warning system for trusts by monitoring trends and highlighting problems in services.

PALS is the only part of the PPI system that is not independent of the NHS. Like ICAS, its scope is restricted to the health service.


9. How will CPPIH make use of other languages and other forms of communication, such as sign anguage?

We have produced our literature in a variety of formats including Braille, other languages and tape.

10. What is the impact of Foundation Hospitals?

Forums will continue to exist for Foundation trust and relate to them in exactly the same way as any other NHS Trust.

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The Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health (CPPIH)

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