The newly published Department of Health document, 'A stronger local voice: A framework for creating a stronger local voice in the development of health and social care services', ends uncertainty surrounding Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Forums, which are to be replaced with Local Involvement Networks (LINks).
Dr David Janner-Klausner, Co-ordinator of the LGiU's Democratic Health Network added: 'It is of course welcome that the new LINks will be coterminous with social services authorities, making local NHS decision making more transparent. However, if these new bodies have fewer powers to investigate local providers they could be less effective and less attractive to individuals who might have sat on Patient and Public Involvement Forums.
'Local government should also be concerned that scrutiny committees are being strongly encouraged to focus on commissioning. While commissioning is undoubtedly critical as we are steered to a health economy with more providers, scrutiny members should be free to set their own agendas.'