Reference code(s): GB0074 LMA/4754
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
Title: HOUNSLOW COMMUNITY HEALTH COUNCIL
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.15 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Hounslow 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.
Hounslow Community Health Council in its final incarnation was created in April 1996. The area had formerly been served by Hounslow and Spelthorne Community Health Council. Hounslow and Spelthorne CHC was most likely created around the same time that Hounslow and Spelthorne District Health Authority was created in 1982. Before this, the area was administered by the Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow, Surrey Area Health Authority. In 1993 the boundaries between the North Thames Regional Health Authority and the South Thames Regional Health Authority were changed, splitting Hounslow and Spelthorne into different areas. Spelthorne was transferred to the South Thames Regional Health Authority in April 1993. The last meeting of Hounslow and Spelthorne CHC took place in March 1996 and the inaugural meeting of Hounslow CHC followed shortly after in April 1996. The records continue seamlessly between the two organisations. From April 1996 Spelthorne residents were served by North West Surrey Community Health Council.
The offices of the CHC were located at 28 The Butts, Brentford, Middlesex before moving to 7/9 Spur Road, Isleworth in 1999. The slogan of Hounslow CHC was "Your link with hospitals, health centres, clinics, family doctors, dentists, opticians and chemists".
Community Health Councils in England were abolished in 2003 as part of the ‘NHS Plan (2000)’. The final meeting of Hounslow CHC took place on 2 July 2003.
Scope and content/abstract:
Records of Hounslow Community Health Council (CHC) and predecessors (1994-2003). Includes Minutes (1994-2003).
ACCESS AND USE
Language/scripts of material: English
System of arrangement:
Arranged in three series of minutes as follows:
LMA/4754/01/01: CHC meetings
LMA/4754/01/02: NHS liaison meetings
LMA/4754/01/03: Annual General Meetings
Conditions governing access:
These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the EU General Data Protection Regulations, 2018.
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 July 2018.