Select Committee on Health Written Evidence

23. Evidence submitted by Craven, Harrogate & Rural District PPI Forum Group (PPI 12)

  1.  The purpose of patient and public involvement is to ensure that local people input their views into strategy planning and delivery of their local health service.

  2.  A secondary purpose is to ensure that patients receive appropriate information regarding their NHS organisations.

  3.  There seems to me to be no reason for reforming the existing PPI Forums. PPI Forums were set up to fail; they were provided with little or no appropriate support. CHCs had experienced CHC Officers who were familiar with local and national issues, and the experience of our Forum the form support organisation did little more than read the rule book and book a room occasionally, and take minutes which were often illiterate, little or no support or guidance was given to the Forum regarding the NHS.

  4.  Over a period of some three years, members who were dedicated to their local NHS acquired considerable experience. A number of exemplary activities were carried out, for example, the PPI Forum worked on a advisory questionnaire for patients suggesting the questions that patients could ask of their healthcare professional in a appropriate circumstances. The Forum also contributed to work on the PILS leaflet in pharmacies, to providing knowledge of the NHS for those whose first language was not English, and worked closely with its primary care trust and was consulted on matters of change and where possible consulted the public.

  5.  The membership was consistently lower than it should have been, there was little or no training, but in its third year, where members are acquiring real ability to scrutinises an input, it is being abolished.

  6.  I personally do not see the point of LINks as it has no teeth as constituted at present, it will simply be a "talking shop" and I think that very few people who are interested in doing something in their local community will be prepared to serve. If it is to be reinvented, it should reinvented with a statutory powers of PPI Forums, or alternatively the Local Authority Scrutiny Committees should be reconstituted, given much greater officer support than at present, and should broaden their overview. An alternative is that Forums become a local arm for the Healthcare Commission.

Craven, Harrogate & Rural District PPI Forum Group

January 2007

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