Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Health and Social Care

Local Involvement Networks (or “LINks”)?

From 1st of April 2008, a new network called LINKs will replace the existing a signpost to the LinksPatient and Public Involvement Forum in Redbridge and will work with the local community to improve the quality of health and social care services. LINks will be a network of individual people, organisations and groups, which collectively represent a variety of views and ideas in relation to health and social care services – anyone can be a member and people can get involved at different levels and on different issues according to their interest.

There is to be a LINk network serving each borough.
Each LINk will be set up in a way that works best for that local area and in Redbridge discussions have begun with existing groups and publicity is being put out on LINks to share ideas about ways to run the LINk that works best for the local community
LINks intends to build on the best work of the Patient and Public Involvement groups and (as it has a broader remit of social care as well as health) will work together with voluntary and community sector groups to improve local health and social care services.

Redbridge Council will be asking an independent organisation (termed a “Host” organisation) to set up and run the LINk - any interested organisations should register their interest with the Council by contacting Stephen Moon on 020 8708 2749 or email

What the Council needs to know now to assist them?
· What you think works well now in patient and user involvement in health and social care issues.
· What you think could be improved.
· Whether you would like to receive more information on how to become involved

You are invited to attend a public meeting being held on Tuesday 4th March 2008 at 2.30 – 4:30pm in Ilford Library (1st Floor, Gloucester Room) to hear more about LINks and give us your views. If you have any queries about anything mentioned above please contact Geoffrey Lutaaya on 020 8708 2558 or email


  1. I cannot tell you how angry this makes me - not because there is anything wrong with LINks or Kinks or whatever, but because a perfectly good, well-understood and comprehensive organisation existed until a few years ago that dealt with these issues, and covered the PALS stuff too:

    it was called the Community Health Council, it was open and representative and in Redbridge did a lot of good work.

    Then Alan Milburn, the Health Secretary at the time (anyone remember him) destroyed the whole setup, without EVER giving a reason to ANYONE. Forgive the capitals, imagine one very angry old bat.

    Since that time, there have been a plethora of INITIATIVES, and most of them have been abject, time-consuming and expensive failures.

    I can only assume that the real reason for destroying the CHCs were to stifle criticism.

    And please don't anyone tell me about the intention to get the Health Service and the Council's Social Service to work more closely together - there were INITIATIVES like that years ago, full of fatuous good intentions and getting pretty well nowhere.

  2. Well, Judith. The post was a cut and paste job from a council notification.

    As I read it, I had the feeling that it was another initiative to gloss over the failures of the last one, and the one before that.

    It needed to be published, if only to prompt comments from those in the know. Thanks.

  3. B21 ??? Is this yet another Quango? Set up in each "Borough"? How would that work in the Shires?
    At present all hospitals have a leaflet asking patients to participate in such Meetings.
    Take the case of incapacity or dementia - Take Whipps Cross Hospital - it takes the co-ordination of at least four departments - whom, it is said have difficulty co-ordinating times for Meetings with patient and relatives. Additionally, because of the type of incapacity or dementia this process also involves Newham, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Enfield, Hackney! This is just in case the first chosen establishment is fully booked or does not cover the "particular type of case".
    It also seems the patient's GP is not invloved in any of these negotiations.
    Having first-hand contact with several such cases and problems, I am appalled that this too-local quango has even been brought on to the table as "a way forward".

  4. Dear Richard

    What you describe is 'box-ticking'.

    CHCs had within them specific committees dealing with such issues as mental health care, maternity, etc as became necessary. There was Councillor representation and Health Authority representation, and there were frequent opportunities to question Chief Executives.

    We also made regular visits, both announced and UNannounced to hospitals, and in the last two years of existence had begun to widen this to visiting Primary Care providers.

    The CHC also assisted members of the public with complaints and information.

    It was also a-political, and anyone who tried to change that was sat upon firmly (even by political activists such as myself).

    Now ask yourself why such an national organisation, although certainly in need of a wash-and-brush-up, was destroyed?

    And my first posting was not a dig at you, B21, by the way.

  5. No problem, Judith.
    It was not taken as such.