The NHS Reorganisation Act 1973 provided for the establishment of independent community health councils (CHCs) in each area health authority (which were themselves replaced by district health authorities in 1982). CHCs scrutinised the NHS by monitoring and reviewing its performance and provided advice to ministers. They also had the ability to take up and pursue patient complaints about health services and speak up on behalf of patients. CHCs had a legal duty to represent the views of the public and be an advocate for patients.
CHCs were abolished in 2003. Their representation and inspection functions were taken over by patient public involvement forums (PPIFs); the advocacy and complaints functions were adopted by patient advice and liaison services (PALS); and scrutiny was passed to local authority Overview and Scrutiny Committees.