HEALTH groups set up three years ago to make a difference to services are continuing to plan for the future.
Annual reports have been published by Northumberland Local Involvement Networks (LINks), along with colleagues in North Tyneside and Newcastle, to show their work over the past year.
LINks were established in 2008 by the Department of Health to provide a channel for local people and community and voluntary groups to express their views and concerns on health and social care services.
Reflecting on the last year, Cynthia Atkin, chair of Northumberland LINk, said: “The publication of our annual report provides an opportunity to look back on the challenges and successes of the last 12 months.
“Looking forward we must continue to ensure the voice of local people is heard in health and social care decisions and respond to the changes outlined in the NHS White Paper, central to which will be the establishment of HealthWatch as a champion of the needs of patients and the public at all levels in the health and social care system.”
Anyone can join a LINk, individuals, patients, carers, volunteers and also voluntary and community groups that are active in their local area, with members deciding how much or how little they want to be involved.
Each LINk is ‘hosted’ by a voluntary group which has received funding from the Department of Health – distributed by the local authority – to help them run effectively and to ensure financial accountability.
In Northumberland, the LINk is hosted by Adapt NE.
The full report is available from www.northumberlandlink.org.uk