Local Involvement Networks: Trafford

Health written question – answered on 29th February 2008.

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Photo of Graham Brady Graham Brady Conservative, Altrincham and Sale West

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department has taken to put in place interim arrangements for the period between the closure of the Trafford Patient and Public Involvement Forum and the establishment of the Trafford Local Involvement Network.

Photo of Ann Keen Ann Keen Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Health Services), Department of Health

A local involvement network (LINk) transitional duty, which will be set out in regulations, will mean that for a period of up to six months, from 1 April 2008, local authorities (LAs) that have not yet successfully contracted with a host organisation, and as a result do not have working LINk arrangements in place, should make other arrangements for ensuring 'LINks activities' may be carried out. This could take a range of forms, although the LA itself will not be able to carry out the activities, nor will an national health service body.

We would expect LAs to invite local people and patient and user organisations with an interest in, and knowledge of, health and social care to participate in what will be the core group of the LINk when a host is appointed.

We strongly encourage LAs to seek people's input. Many organisations already have in place stakeholder groups, members of which may well be ideally placed to form the basis of the LINk, whether it be on a transitional basis or the final version. Clearly existing members of Patients' Forums are well placed to be involved early on, but LINks are to be formed of a much wider base and we have urged LAs seek the involvement of people involved in user and carer groups, and representatives from the wider voluntary and community sector too. Such action will help to ensure that a LA meets its transitional duty.

From 1 April 2008, Trafford metropolitan borough council will be responsible for ensuring that LINk activities take place in its area. Trafford Primary Care Trust (PCT) is working closely with Trafford Council and other partner organisations to establish a Trafford LINk.

Trafford PCT representatives are members on the following LINk related groups:

LINk Task and Finish Group;

LINk Procurement Group; and

LINk Transitional Working Group.

Trafford PCT is also a member of the Borough's Local Strategic Partnership (Trafford Partnership). The primary purpose is to enhance the quality of life and prosperity for all Trafford's residential and business communities. The PCT is currently involved in the development of Trafford Partnership's Community Engagement Strategy.

After 1 April and LINks coming into force, Trafford PCT will continue engaging with its local population to ensure that commissioning processes are informed and influenced by the views and opinions of local people.

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