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Home Industry News NHS ‘should empower patients with local networks’

NHS ‘should empower patients with local networks’

9th August 2007

A greater number of people should have enhanced input over decision-making in local health and social care services, it has been claimed.

The current system of patient forums is set to be replaced next year by Local Involvement Networks (LINks), with the Department of Health this week launching resources to help local authorities and the health service prepare for this transformation.

LINks aim to be truly representative of the local communities they act for, will be independently run and supported and have the power to refer services to committees for scrutiny.

Furthermore, LINks will observe all health and social care services in a set area and provide a forum for both organisations and individuals wishing to express an opnion on these services.

Ann Keen, minister for patient empowerment, said: “Services get better when they listen to the people that use them and respond to what they want.

“We know that the vast majority of people think that having a say in local health and social services is important, but we need more people to take an active role.”

She added that in order for such involvement to be successful, it must be both simple and convenient, with the new LINks system having a central role in making this possible.

In January 2007, the government announced the launch of a new website aiming to merge available information on hospitals and treatment centres in order to better empower patients to make informed healthcare choices.

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