It's our LINk! Join it! Use it!

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In 2007, Government legislation abolished Patient & Public Involvement Forums (PPI), which had been the bodies that presented your views to local NHS Trusts. At the same time, each local Council that has a responsibility for Social Care services was given the duty, and the money, to set up a Local Involvement Network (LINk), bringing together individuals and community groups to work to improve both Health- and Adult Social Care services in the area.

In Cheshire there will be two LINks; one for Cheshire West and Chester, and one for Cheshire East, including Audlem. The job of the LINk is to help create a local system that will provide each person, from every part of the community, with the opportunity to say what they would like, want or need from their Health- and Adult Social Care services, knowing that the people who plan and run the services will listen, take heed and respond.

I got involved with LINk when I was asked to become a member of the Cheshire LINk Interim Board in May 2008 because I am involved with carers' organisations. The Interim Board — all volunteers — together with an independent Host organisation (The Carers Federation) has been setting up the formal framework for the two separate LINks, and we are organising Public Meetings at which members of each LINk will be asked to consider, and, shortly afterwards, to vote on the adoption of a Constitution.

The Interim Board will also be asking for nominations for the boards of the two LINks, with a postal ballot of members, timed so that the LINks can be fully established by the deadline of 1st April 2009. We have to elect three representatives for the Crewe and Nantwich area on the East Cheshire Board. It is important that our LINk should have as many members as possible.

Everyone can join ! GP patients; hospital patients; users of care services; carers; volunteer groups, and organisations involved in Health- and Adult Social Care services — in fact anyone who has any contact with or knowledge of these services. And it's free.

If you would like a Membership Application Form, or an Information Pack, contact me, Celia Bloor, on 01270 811 260, or call the LINk Support Team Office on 01606 45920.

It's our LINk! Join it! Use it!

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