A government bill is to give people more say in developing their local health services.
The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill is to replace patient and pubic involvement forums with 150 Local Involvement Networks (LINks).
It is thought that LINks will make it easier for communities to influence key decisions about local health services.
They will be run by local people and will cover all publicly funded health and social care services in a local authority area.
Health Minister Ann Keen says input from the people who use the services will lead to more “open and transparent communication between communities and the health service.”
“By increasing the NHS’s accountability to local people, we want to develop people’s trust and confidence that their opinions will be heard.
“If more people are going to get involved in shaping services, the process must be convenient and result in real changes.”
Chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Well being Board David Rogers said: “Local Involvement Networks can offer a more integrate approach to health and social care provided sufficient support and effective scrutiny arrangements are in place.”