There have been different ways for people to have a say in health services over the years. In 2003, the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health was set up. Their job has been to support different ways for people to have a say in how health services are run. They support Patientsí Forums. There is a Patients' Forum in every NHS Trust and Primary Care Trust.
In 2005, the Department of Health looked at how this was working. In 2006, the White Paper 'Our health, our care, our say' was published. It said that people should have 'more choice and a louder voice'. It said that local communities should be able to have more say in the way in which the whole health and social care system is designed and works. Ideas about how to do this were published in July 2006 in a report called 'A Stronger Local Voice'. It said that there needed to be new organisations called Local Involvement Networks known as LINks. These will be a new way for people to have a say in how heath and social care services are planned and run.
The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 enabled Local Involvement Networks (LINks) to be established. The legislation sets out the role and function of LINks.
Under the legislation that established LINks (Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007), local authorities were given £84 million in funding to support LINk activities between 2008 - 2011.
There is a LINks in every local authority in the country. For example there are separate LINks for Leicester City, Leicestershire County council and Rutland Council.