What is a Local Involvement Network (LINk)?
- LINks are a network of local people, organisations, voluntary and community groups that want to make health and social care services better.
- LINks give the public the chance to say what they think and to suggest ideas to help improve a service. A LINk encourages and supports local people to get involved in how local care services are planned and run. They listen to local people about their needs and experiences of services.
- LINks also work with health and care professionals to ensure the public views are heard.
- LINks look at all health and social care services in an area that are funded by public money. They feed back this information to the people responsible for commissioning, providing, managing and checking up on health and social care services so that things can change for the better.
Why were LINks set up?
- In 2006 the White Paper 'Our health, our car, our say' was published. It said that people should have 'more choice and a louder voice' and that local communities should be able to have more say in the way in which the whole health and social care system is designed and works.
- LINks replaced Patients' Forums and were set up as a new way for all local people to have a say in how health and social care services are planned and run.
What functions do LINk's have?
LINk's are able to:
- 'Enter and View' (i.e. visit and monitor) health and social care services in their area.
- Recommend investigation by the CQC, where an urgent need for close scrutiny of a service is found.
- Systematically gather views and experiences of patients, service users and the community as a whole on the quality of the health and social care services provided for them.
- Take these views to the commissioning groups to influence decisions on the commissioning and monitoring of services in the area.
- Report peoples' views, circumstances and conclusions on service quality to council scrutiny committees; to the Care Quality Commission, who are the local and national regulators; and to other appropriate bodies.
- Make reports and recommendations and get a reply within a set time.
- Ask for information about a service and get a reply within a set time.
Who does your LINk represent?
- Patients, service-users and their carers of all publicly-funded health and social care services
- Particularly those individuals and groups who find it most difficult to make their views and needs heard
- All the communities in your area who need specific, and general high quality health and social care services of all kinds.
Who funds and commissions your LINk?
- Your local authority is funded by government to commission, and be responsible for monitoring the quality of the LINk.
- LINk funding covers the basic costs of the organisation and the costs of providing the services which LINks are statutorily required, or commissioned by the local authority, to provide for residents on the area.
How independent is your LINk?
- Despite being commissioned by the local authority, LINk is an independent body, able to critique any publicly-funded health or social care service in the LINk area as well as services outside the area, but used by local residents.
When does HealthWatch replace LINks?
This Local Involvement Network is hosted by