Monday, 13 April 2009
Attention LINks - this is how to do it
Tuesday afternoon I went to Loddon, the small rural town town 3 miles from where I live. I went because the timetable said the service I was interested would be there then. And there is was: in the public car park in the centre of the town was a motor home converted into a mobile showroom/surgery. It clearly announced its presence to the general public, having a prominent flag flying and bill boards around it.
This was the Norfolk Deaf Association's “Listen Here” Mobile Clinic. Funded by, I was told, a grant of about £80,000 from the National Lottery this apparently service user run free service reaches out to twenty such small rural area towns, on a regular timetable covering the whole of Norfolk. People know about it not just by the Clinic's visibility but also in advance by the published timetables which are advertised clearly in GP surgeries, public libraries and community notices.
In contrast, if I lived in the city of Norwich in the centre of Norfolk, I might just have an inkling about the existence of LINks – 'might' and 'inkling' because the Norfolk version of LINks is so insular, so incestuous, that amongst even residents of Norwich only those already aware of the Norfolk LINks navel are able to contemplate it.
Living where I do, in a rural area, as the majority of people in Norfolk do, the mere existence of LINks is totally invisible. If they are really serious about their statutory responsibility to engage service users and carers (of both NHS and social care) in local communities, WHY CAN'T THEY FOLLOW THE EXCELLENT NORFOLK DEAF ASSOCIATION MODEL?