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Saturday, 5 April 2008

NALM

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LINks MEMBERS
Patient and Public Involvement in Health and Social Care

National body of health activists launched
The National Association of LINks Members (NALM) was launched on April 1st 2008 to coincide with the establishment by the Government of Local Involvement Networks. These bodies will monitor health and social care across England and replace Patients’ Forums.

For the second time in five years, the DH has abolished PPI organisations across the country and dislocated the monitoring of health care by local people. NALM is concerned that the new, poorly-funded LINks organisations could take years to recruit effective membership and establish themselves.

NALM is national, member-led organisation which will campaign for effective patient and public involvement (PPI) and greater democracy in health and social care services. It will attempt directly to influence Ministers in the Department of Health and in the Department of Communities and Local Government, on a wide range of health and social care issues. It will participate in major policy debates on quality, access and provision of service.

The abolition of Patients’ Forum will leave a long gap during which neither health care nor social services will be monitored by the public and patients. NALM is working with hundreds of people across the country who are ready to join local LINks and mobilise the engagement of local people to monitor and scrutinise services. They will demand full consultation should the NHS seek to cut services. NALM will have a major role in regional and national commissioning of health services. We are determined that:
LINks must be established without delay
LINks members must have control of resources
LINks’ members must have real power, influence and independence
PPI must be genuine and sustained improvements in NHS and social care
LINks must actively include the communities usually ignored by the NHS and social care
Ministers must guarantee expenses and indemnity for LINks’ members
LINks’ members must have effective training opportunities
LINks must be sustainable organisations – not subject to abolition in a couple of years

NALM has been established by the most active Patients’ Forum members across England to limit the damage caused by abolition and to support local people rapidly to build strong and effective new organisations to monitor health and social care. We will build regional and national structures to ensure that grass roots activists can influence health authorities and government on all major health and social care issues. NALM will continue to demand that Government provides adequate resources and support for LINKs. Initially we will focus on the safely and quality of social care, the effectiveness of ambulance services and the quality of cancer services, paediatrics and mental health services.

We invite you to join us. A membership form is attached.

Malcolm Alexander Ruth Marsden
Chair Vice Chair
Notes:

1) The Association was set up following a national ballot of Patients’ Forum members organized by the Electoral Reform Society. A Steering Group of 18 was elected (2 from each Region) followed by recruitment amongst the membership of Patients’ Forums. The Association is wholly member-led and independent. Its role is informing, advising, disseminating information and acting as a source of expert advice, regionally and nationally for key stakeholders including the Department of Health, MPs, House of Lords, Healthcare Commission, National Centre for Involvement, Local Government Association and Strategic Health Authorities.

2) The Chair of NALM is Malcolm Alexander. Malcolm is Chair of the Patients’ Forum for the
London Ambulance Service and lectures in public involvement and community
development at Westminster University.

The Vice Chair of NALM is Ruth Marsden. Ruth Marsden was Chair of the Patient and Public Involvement Forum for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust.
She is Chair of the Clinical Radiology PLG for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, and Chair of the Specialist Trusts of Yorkshire, Humberside and Teesside. She has an engineering background, with a particular interest in military technology.

3) LINks will ask what local people think about their health and social care services and campaign to improve these. LINks will investigate issues of specific concern to the community and use powers to hold service-providers to account. LINks will have rights of access to information within a specified time and will carry out spot-checks and visits to health and social care services to assess whether services are safe and appropriate. LINks will make reports and recommendations and if necessary refer matters to the Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

4) The legislation recognises that LINks will want to form national and regional bodies and Health Minister Ann Keen MP has confirmed this:

“The arrangements may (in particular) make provision as respects co-operation between a local involvement network and any English network or English networks.” (Local Government and PI in Health Act “222. (5))

“While local involvement networks (LINks) will be independent and will have the power to develop their own priorities and agendas, they will need to develop relationships with a number of stakeholders to fulfil their statutory role effectively. (HYPERLINK "/mp/?m=1448"Ann Keen MP Under-Secretary of State for Health)






National Association of LINKs Members

Patient and Public Involvement in Health and Social Care



MEMBERSHIP ENROLMENT FORM
FOR USE BY INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS

Kindly complete and return as indicated below

1 Member’s Full Name:


2 Member’s Full Address:


3 Member’s Email/Telephone/Fax:


I, the above-named hereby apply for enrolment as a registered Member of the National Association of LINks Members.

4 Signature of the Member____________________________________________

Members shall be entitled to attend meetings of the Assembly and vote thereat
Membership fee is £5-00. Please pay cheques to the National Association of Patient’s Forums
Completed enrolment form must be lodged with National Association of LINKs Members:
National Association of LINks Members – North - Ruth Marsden, The Hollies, George Street, Cottingham, East Yorks. HU16 5QP HYPERLINK "mailto:ruth@myford.karoo.co.uk" \o "mailto:ruth@myford.karoo.co.uk" ruth@myford.karoo.co.uk 01482 849980/07807519933
National Association of LINks Members – South - Malcolm Alexander, 30 Portland Rise, N4 2PP
HYPERLINK "mailto:Maiexa49@aol.com" Maiexa49@aol.com 0208 809 6551/07817505193

Please describe your interests and skills-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5 Date of Application_________________________________

National Association of LINKs Members

Patient and Public Involvement in Health and Social Care



April 1st 2008

Dear Colleague,

The NAPFs was formed in May 2007 to bring together members of Forums across England. On April 1st we became the National Association of LINKs Members (NALM). Our primary role has been to lobby the Government during the passage of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill. We are building NALM as a national organisation of members that will continue in a lobbying and advisory capacity when LINks are formed. We are committed to highly effective local community involvement and accountability in health and social care services. To achieve this we want to ensure that a significant number of the 5000 trained and experienced volunteers who have been members of Forums over the past few years, move into the new system and have a real impact on its effectiveness. We believe that through effective strategic collaborations it would be possible to create a significant advance in public involvement in public services and in the short to medium term deal more effectively with issues like the Darzi review of the NHS.

We are committed to developing effective local, regional and national democratic structures for LINks, which would create the capacity at regional and national level to influence health and social care policy.

We attach a note which describes our view on the current development of LINks and I hope you will join the National Association.

Best wishes




Malcolm Alexander Ruth Marsden
Chair Vice Chair
National Association of LINKs Members


The National Association of LINKs Members

1. The National Association of Patients’ Forums was established in May 2007 to lobby for changes to the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill. It has an elected Steering Committee of 18 people.

2. We will continue working with the statutory and voluntary sector to create models of excellence in public involvement in the NHS and Social Services. We believe there is an opportunity to fashion a ground-breaking development, leading the way in which public services are designed and delivered.

3. The levels of funding published by the Government on December 5th are inadequate to provide a level of service which matches the roles of LINKs and the expectations placed on them.

4. There will be a need for a general oversight of developments at both local authority and national levels to encourage strong and viable local, regional and national outcomes. We should not leave Departments of State to have too much steerage in this area.

5. Many services, e.g. ambulance services, paediatric, cancer and mental health services
have regional structures and many other specialist services are multi-regional or
national. It could be years before LINks will be able to monitor these services and
influence commissioning, unless organisational infrastructure is retained.

Local Authorities and NHS bodies may well try to influence the priorities and work
programmes of LINks and it will probably be necessary actively to provide advice on
this issue and support to LINks members and Hosts who feel that they are being
dominated by provider and commissioner agendas.

Some local voluntary organisations may need encouragement to get involved in LINks.
Equally, thousands of individuals with a wide range of experience and skills, will need to be convinced the new arrangements make their volunteering worth-while.

8. These two worlds - experienced PPI volunteers and the voluntary organisations - now
need to gain a greater understanding of each other’s strengths and capacity. We
believe there is an urgent short-term job to do to develop arrangements which will
support the fledgling LINks in the first year, and to build powerful coalitions over
time to revolutionize the way services relate to their public.

9. The Government has now placed a duty on SHAs to consult on strategic issues and
given them a veto to stop local PCT consultations. We believe there is an opportunity
jointly to consider how to match the regional and national power of these bodies.

10. Voluntary organisations already have national and regional organisations and their agendas are often condition-specific. We hope that NALM will provide the capacity to develop powerful coalitions and organisations that will have the expertise to intervene locally and nationally. We believe there will be a need to give a national voice to both constituencies from April 1st 2008.

2 comments:

mandy lifeboats appeal said...

Nice to see Link members showing their teeth.

I won't be joining a link, not just because of travel issues but because of cronic MH issues going down, but good on Mr Marsden and I hope plenty of Link members join and make a positive difference by doing so.

Anonymous said...

CORRECTION: NALM does not, and cannot, represent LINks on a national forum. They have no remit nor permission to do so.

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