12. Initial Conclusion
In conclusion, even if additional resources are made available to support their local area committees, some of us have doubts about whether the CHC review will bring about the desired consistent effect across Wales. If, as someone argued at our 29th January workshop, CHCs lack public profile, legitimacy and independence, how will the patient and service user voice be heard and acted upon?
If local authorities are to have a more central role in holding LHB's to account, how will they engage citizens and service users in their processes and how do we ensure that they allocate sufficient resources in their social care budget and in the joint planning of health and social care?
New "web 2.0" approaches building on the recent developments in public, service user partnerships and engagement, and in particular, innovative use of the web holds much promise for widening patient and citizen involvement in an efficient and egalitarian way. The potential of new "web 2.0" approaches to enabling widespread public engagement at low cost could be valuable in rural areas. The new Wales NHS Active should actively consider funding and supporting the pioneering work of Patient Opinion (http://www.patientopinion.org.uk), which would support the work of a number of partners.
We hope this note contributes to an important debate and we will be pleased to receive comments.
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