As a member of the public, you have a right to be involved in discussions and decisions about your health and social care services. By sharing your experiences and ideas with your Local Involvement Network (LINk), you can influence the way services are run.
Influence your own care
LINks are independent networks made up of individuals and community groups who work to improve local health and social care services. They aim to ensure that each community has services that reflect the needs and wishes of local people.
LINks are responsible for:
- Finding out what people think of their local health and care services.
- Giving people a chance to suggest ideas to care professionals that help improve services.
- Looking into specific issues of concern to the community.
- Making recommendations to the people who plan and run services and ensuring a response is received from those people within a specified time period.
- Asking for information about services and ensuring information is received within a specified time period.
- Carrying out visits, when necessary, to see whether services are working well.
- Referring issues to the local council's health overview and scrutiny committee if it seems that action is not being taken.
Listening and responding to you
The job of each LINk is to find out what people like and dislike about local services. The LINk then feeds this information back to health and social care providers, helping them to plan and deliver better and more relevant services.
Your views are vital to the way LINks operate. Your opinions and ideas will be taken seriously, and will help to bring about positive change in the way local services are run.
Your LINk will listen carefully to your experiences of health and social care services, and to any ideas for improvements you might have. If there’s a specific issue relating to local services that your community feels has been neglected, your LINk will look into this. It will then make recommendations to the relevant professionals and seek out a response. Additionally, you can share your thoughts about what you like about particular services.
Making an impact
Getting involved in LINks is easy. Use the service directory to find your local LINk, or contact the department of your local council that is responsible for social services to find out what's happening in your area.
It’s up to you how and when you interact with your LINk. Some reasons why you should take part include:
- To draw attention to neglected issues or ideas.
- To influence those who make decisions about new or existing health and social care services.
- To help your community speak with a stronger voice.
- To help services provide better care.
There are different ways to participate and communicate your thoughts, but anyone who wants to ensure that local services meet the needs of their community can and should get involved.
Your rights in action
The NHS Constitution sets out the rights and responsibilities of patients, the public and staff in relation to NHS care. It makes clear what you can expect from the NHS, and how you can play a part in making it even better.
Becoming part of a LINk gives you an opportunity to put your rights into action. You will be able to help:
- Plan health and social care services.
- Develop proposals for changes to services.
- Make decisions that may affect how the services operate.
LINks also have certain powers and influence within health and social care that is funded by the public. For example, health and social care organisations have to allow LINks representatives onto their premises. They are also required to respond to suggestions made by LINks, and outline what action will be taken. LINks can also refer specific issues to the local council’s health overview and scrutiny committee.
In this way, LINks can use their power to make sure that your voice is heard, and that positive change occurs.