Thanks to Cheryl for an update on the voluntary organisations conference held last week. Ed
A conference of voluntary organisations on the Island met on Thursday, 7th October to explore the future of public representation and involvement in health and social care under the new Government.
Government plans to allow the existing Local Involvement Networks (LINks) to evolve into a local HealthWatch, promoting the involvement of people in their own care, and keeping an eye on the health and social services provided.
Conference discussed transition
Facilitated by local consultants Wight Wisdom, the meeting at the Quay Arts Centre in Newport explored the strengths and weaknesses of the existing model, and looked to greater openness and accessibility in future.
LINks replaced Patient and Public Involvement forums, which in turn replaced the Community Health Councils which had monitored the health service for nearly 30 years before their abolition in 2003.
Working together for the community
Participants from the LINk itself, the Rural Community Council, and Help and Care, the charity supporting the Isle of Wight LINk, examined Government plans for funding and organisation of a new body which would be member-led and responsive to people’s health and social care needs, against a financial background of cuts and economic restraint.
Isle of Wight LINk chair Nancy Ellacott said, “The challenges ahead of us all are immense, with significant reform on the way for the NHS, and local authorities having to cut their social care budgets. Against this background, it is all the more vital that the independent voice of the public is heard.
“Patient and public involvement is continuously evolving; we haven’t got the model right yet: but there is a need to establish a forum of opinion which can genuinely scrutinise public services, gather public views, experiences, and ambitions for the services, and ensure that the user’s voice is heard, and that having been heard, is acted on.”