Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mental Health : Pressure Is Created For Parliamentary Clarity On "Independent" LINks Hosts

UserWatch Reports

UserWatch (Birmingham UK) has been informed that active pressure is now being created at MP and parliamentary level regarding the vacuous area where the Govt apparently gave no clear guidance about what constituted an Independent Local Involvement Networks (LINks) Host.

LINks Host's have been appointed across the UK to support the administration of LINks lay-bodies that have superseded Patient and Public Involvement Forums (PPI's) with their function of public lay scrutiny of Health & Social Care Services .

UserWatch is aware that the DOH claimed prior to their abolition in March 2008 that the PPI's were tending to hold up the Govt's pace of reform . The evidence for this was small and we were informed by a senior figure within the NHS that some CEO's of NHS Trusts had done their best to undermine the PPI function. This became useful to Dept of Health riddled with its own needs for unviewed dominion over chaotic roll outs with the least resistance and check at local levels . In other words the PPI's were evolving from having beaks in the pecking order to having teeth ..

Dr Lynne Jones (Joint Chair of The Mental Health All Parliamentary Health Sub Committee) has been contacted by Paul Brian Tovey - who is an Independent Mental Health Monitor. This need for greater clarity according to material we have seen has been supported now by N.A.L.M. too - the National Asssociation For LINks Members

N.A.L.M. appears concerned over the nature of the choices of "Independent" LINKs Hosts in other parts of the country .

The text of concerns asking for Ministerial and Secretary of State Guidance sent to Dr Lynne Jones M.P. is below :

"----- Original Message -----
From : Paul Tovey
Dear Lynne The following questions below are fair , are timely , and I feel should now go to senior political figures holding the Health and Social Care brief re; LINks . I am asking for your help to achieve timely answers and would be grateful for that :


In keeping with trying to achieve public confidence and clarity for Birmingham LINks members (and that includes the mental health users who have contacted me privately) as well as trying to achieve wider openess upon these matters, would you please ask the Secretary Of State for Health or relevant Minister what the Govt and Public should reasonably expect as "Independence" of quality of support and operation from a LINks Host when procured by a Council ?

And indeed what is the test of confidence for the LINks Host's "Independence" in these matters?


Would you please ask for clarity as to what the Govt actually intended as "Independence" of quality of support and operation from a LINks Host, and will the Minister or Secretary of State guide on these matters ?


Does the Govt/Minister/Secretary of State For Health believe it is correct for a LINks Host to have several Health contracts and Social Care Contracts in the same locality as the LINk it supports and to claim "Independence", relative to its functions in supporting the LINks ?

If so on what basis would that cross organisational "Independence" be actually judged so conflicts of interest and loyalty are properly measured ?

I do feel it is time for senior politicians to take a view on the record Lynne

Regards Paul Brian Tovey Independent Mental Health Monitor "



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