Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4740
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
Title: BEXLEY COMMUNITY HEALTH COUNCIL
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 1.5 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Bexley Community Health Council
Community Health Councils were established in England and Wales in 1974 "to represent the interests in the health service of the public in its district" (National Health Service Reorganisation Act, 1973). Often referred to as 'the patient’s voice in the NHS', each Community Health Council (CHC) served the public and patients in its local area by representing their interests to National Health Service (NHS) authorities and by monitoring the provision of health services to their communities.
CHCs were independent statutory bodies with certain legal powers. CHCs were entitled to receive information about local health services, to be consulted about changes to health service provision, and to carry out monitoring visits to NHS facilities. They also had the power to refer decisions about proposed closures of NHS facilities to the Secretary of State for Health. For this reason, CHCs were sometimes known as the ‘watchdogs’ of the NHS. The co-ordinated monitoring of waiting times in Accident and Emergency departments led to ‘Casualty Watch’ which gained national press coverage. Locally, many CHCs represented patients’ views by campaigning for improved quality of care and better access to NHS services, and by responding to local issues such as proposed hospital closures.
Each CHC had around 20 voluntary members from the local area. Half were appointed the local authority, a third were elected from voluntary bodies and the remainder were appointed by the Secretary of State for Health. Members met every month to six weeks and meetings were usually open to the general public. Guest speakers or guest attendees were often invited, particularly when a specific topic or issue was under discussion.
All CHCs employed a small number of paid office staff and some had shop-front offices, often on the high street, where members of the public could go for advice and information about local NHS services. CHCs published leaflets and guidance on a wide variety of topics from ‘how to find a GP’ to ‘how to make a complaint’.
Within the guiding principles and statutory duties of the legislation, CHCs developed organically in response to the needs of the communities they served and for this reason considerable variation can be found in the records of different CHCs.
Bexley Community Health Council held its inaugural meeting on 26 April 1974, making it one of the earliest CHCs to be set up. After initially meeting at Bexley Hospital, permanent premises were found in 1977 at 11a Upton Road, Bexleyheath where the CHC continued to operate until 2003. Bexley’s slogan was "the chc - a link between Bexley health services & those who use them" (Annual Report 1995-1996).
Community Health Councils in England were abolished in 2003 as part of the ‘NHS Plan (2000)’.
Scope and content/abstract:
Records of Bexley Community Health Council (CHC) (1974 - 2003) including Minutes (1974 - 1979), Meeting Papers (1975 - 2003), Annual and Quadrennial Reports (1974 - 2003), Visit and Evaluation Reports (1998 - 2003), Attendance Registers (1982 - 1998) and Publications (199- - 200-).
ACCESS AND USE
Language/scripts of material: English
System of arrangement:
Arranged in six series as follows:
LMA/4740/02: Meeting papers
LMA/4740/03: Annual and quadrennial reports
LMA/4740/04: Visit and evaluation reports
LMA/4740/05: Attendance registers
Conditions governing access:
These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.
Conditions governing reproduction:
Copyright rests with the depositor.
Please see online catalogues at: https://search.lma.gov.uk/opac_lma/index.htm
Immediate source of acquisition:
Deposited in 2004.
Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.
Date(s) of descriptions: Added June 2018.