Health education charity Developing Patient Partnerships will be forced to close its doors this summer following a decision by the government to withdraw funding from April.

DPP is partly funded by the Department of Health, and was set up in 1997 to produce “unbiased high-quality, user-tested, health information resources” for GP surgeries, primary care organisations and others working in the National Health Service. But the DH has now decided to pull the plug on its financial support of the charity, and as a result it will close on August 31.

DPP Chair, Dr David Wrigley, has slammed the government’s move. “For over a decade, DPP has fought to keep health education and self care at the top of the agenda. How ironic that now, just as the Prime Minister has announced that government will increasingly need to shift focus and resources to the prevention and early identification of health problems, DPP is forced to close,” he remarked.

The need for better quality information for patients and collaboration between healthcare professionals to boost treatment outcomes in the country has long been recognised. So “how can it be right to force closure on the very charity that is continually delivering the information, advice and signposting to the support needed for every citizen in the country so that they can make effective use of public services, especially the NHS?”, Wrigley asks.

Also commenting on the impending closure, Dr Michael Dixon, NHS Alliance chairman, said it will be “a huge loss to patient-focused health education”. He went on to say DDP has been “a pioneer in encouraging professionals and patients to work together and in developing self help”, and stressed: “The practice of healthcare is the better for the lessons it has taught. The NHS owes it a great deal.”

A spokesman for the DH was not available in time for comment.