York LINk (Local Involvement Network)
About York LINk…
York Local Involvement Network (LINk) gives everyone in York the chance to say what they think about local health and social care services. We work with the people who plan and run the services to make sure that York people get the best possible services.
The LINk is able to:
- Find out people’s views
- Produce reports and make recommendations
- Ask for information from service providers
- Monitor and review health and social care services
- Enter and ‘view’ certain services
- Work with the people who make decisions
York LINk is made up of local people and organisations. It is run by an elected Steering Group of volunteers and is supported by a small staff team. Almost 700 individuals, and over 300 local voluntary groups and organisations are now members of the LINk.
Each year York LINk works on a number of health and social care issues which have been raised by York people and voted on by LINk members. During 2011-2012 our priorities are access to food in hospital and services for older people.
LINks were launched throughout England by the Government in April 2008. The current Government are introducing a new Health and Social Care Bill which will make a lot of changes to the way services are run. The new Bill also says that all LINks will become local HealthWatch organisations, so from October 2012 York LINk will be local HealthWatch.
Becoming a Local HealthWatch
Local HealthWatch will have a wider role than LINks – the Government wants it to be an ‘advice bureau’ which helps people make choices about health and social care. It will also keep the current LINks role of finding out people’s views on services and recommending improvements. Local HealthWatch will continue to involve a wide range of patient and community groups and networks. There will also be new opportunities for volunteers – we are currently recruiting people to be Community HealthWatchers.
We are looking for people who know the area they live in and understand the needs of their local community. Community HealthWatchers will be able to take part in a variety of health and social care initiatives including:
- Helping people to stop smoking
- Directing people who need help to reduce alcohol/drug consumption
- Helping people to consider more healthy ways of living
- Directing people who need advice and help with welfare benefits
No previous experience is needed - volunteers just need to be interested in their local area and the people in it. Free training is available and volunteers will be fully supported. Anyone who is interested in becoming a Community HealthWatcher, or who would like to find out more about York LINk and the work it does, can contact us at the LINk office: Holgate Villa, 22 Holgate Road, York, YO24 4AB or at tel. 01904 621631
Carol Pack, Information and Engagement Officer, York LINk
The Archbishop of York has been Patron of York LINk since 2009.