The new minister for patient empowerment, Ann Keen, has announced plans to scrap patient forums and replace them with local involvement networks (LINks).
MP Ann Keen says the move will give patients a greater say over local health and social care services.
She commented: “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.
“For this to happen, getting involved must be simple and convenient.”
The government plans to engage with local communities as part of the NHS Next Stage Review.
LINks will run independently and provide a “one-stop-shop” for those who want to have their say.
“Links have the potential to benefit everyone who uses health and social care services – whether by making it easy for people to share their views on services , or by giving them the opportunity to represent their communities,” says Ann Keen.
“It will also be easier for councils and the NHS to engage with the often complex networks of patient activists, voluntary and community groups by helping local organisations to speak with one voice and have a real influence over key decisions.”
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