Select Committee on Health Written Evidence

58. Evidence submitted by Medway Community Health PPI forum (PPI 53)


  The following comments are based on extensive experience of Community Health Councils and Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Forums.

    —  PPI Forums, due to the membership selection process, are diverse organisations with memberships drawn from individuals with wide experience, particularly of people from hard to reach groups. PPI Forums in Medway have been highly successful as a result of this, eg work on privacy and dignity, health in the workplace, etc—full information is available.

    —  LINKs have an inherent potential weakness in that they could easily become a vehicle for well organised pressure groups.

    —  PPI Forum members are a non-paid independent group of motivated people. If voluntary organisations/pressure groups form the backbone of LINKs past history/experience demonstrates that paid officials take up membership places. This might seem a trivial point but it goes to the heart of public/patient/carer involvement in health and social care.

    —  The new system of PPI/strengthening local communities policy is fragmented amongst a number of organisations and has the danger being unfocused on NHS issues in particular.

    —  Experience of Overview and Scrutiny Committees has demonstrated them as ineffective in providing local scrutiny of the NHS and are recognised as such within the Cabinet system operating within local government.

    —  Putting the funding of LINKs in the hands of local government creates a conflict of interest in many areas, eg OSCs; grant aiding voluntary organisations, etc.

    —  Need greater clarity about balance between individuals and organisations within LINKs.

David Elkes

Chairman, Medway Community Health PPI Forum

9 January 2007

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