Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Will the Birmingham Local Involvement Network become fit for purpose ?


Cartoon Starring HSJ Mogger

Will the Birmingham Local Involvement Network (Health Watchers)
become fit for purpose and a competent HealthWatcher ?

LINK Watching is a hobby of many in the health field . Some lay monitoring LINK's set up to monitor health (2008) have been disastrous .

The Birmingham LINK has been half limping really , here and there with some despair , and appears though to have been monitoring parts of the local health scene in Birmingham with a certain degree of competence but also it has been flat-lining around too .

Yet rumors have surfaced that it has also been used by some people to network with and so that their own self interests are looked after . Looking at the LINK records on the Birmingham LINK site reveals strengths in some lay monitoring on Kidney Dialysis and engagement with Post Natal depression that was effective . There is some good work in Mental Health with consultations being put under the microscope and challenged - the older age groups appear to be engaged with thoughtfulness .

Yet there appears a lot of dead weight in the structure of the Birmingham LINK and broad evidence of all the groups practicing good monitoring standards does not exist .

Into the beginning of 2011 comes a LINK election for "Core Group" members ... Oh dear - will this be more of the same bureau-link practice that has characterized the way public energy and money has been mis-targeted in parts of the LINKs nationally .

We have viewed one Councillor Sue Anderson's views expressed to Gov't consultation about Adult Social Care and accountability ref the Birmingham LINK on the pages where you can search the council's reports and committee minutes . The Gov't consultation asks in one document (and she answers) :

12. Would you support an assurance role for the local Health Watch in
the production of accounts?

"Yes as part of the overall arrangements. The city Council has well established arrangements for reaching out to the broader citizenship. When the Link was formed there was an optimistic expectation that it would reach out to the wider citizenship and assist in forming citizen jury’s and groups we could engage with on moves to personalisation for example. It has been disappointing to date that the Link has tended to narrowly reflect its own membership and has not reached out. The extent of the role for Health Watch will depend on its ability to reach out to the broader community and become a more representative voice and an enabler of wider consultation. The City Council would welcome and will take a lead role in ensuring Health Watch takes on this broader role so it could be relied on more as a representative body for purposes of assurance and indeed informing service development. "

Certainly viewing all the Birmingham LINK Core Group minutes does not show cross group strategic communication that is competent and fluidly effective ..

So it is with all this baggage that the new candidates joust and who might just oust some of the older structure to make new growth and far wider competent Health and Social Care monitoring in Birmingham exist



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