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New patient forums 'will not have enough money'

The organisations that will replace patient forums will not have enough money to operate efficiently, doctors and patients are claiming.

The BMA's patient liaison group is warning that the

annual subsidy of up to £150,000 planned for each Local Involvement Network (Link) branch may not cover staff wages, buildings expenses and other costs.

Links will monitor health and social care agencies and are planned to replace Patient

Forums and The Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health.

Juliet Dunmur, BMA patient liaison group deputy chair,

said: 'Getting the public

involved will not happen through good intentions alone – it requires commitment and resources.'

Dr Malcolm Rigler, a GP in Brynmawr, Blaenau Gwent, with a special interest in patient empowerment, said more public involvement was needed to secure the survival of GP practices and PCTs.

He said: 'Anything that encourages partnership working between health and social services and the voluntary sector is a good thing.'

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