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Health Services: Social Work

Volume 461: debated on Friday 15 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to re-examine the role of social care providers in the running of LINKS programmes following the recent Health Select Committee report on patient and public health involvement in the NHS; and if she will make a statement. (141148)

As stated in the Government response to the Health Select Committee report, laid in Parliament on Monday 11 June, an organisation being a social care provider does not prevent it from also advocating on behalf of patients and users of health and social care services. We believe it is more than reasonable to expect potential host organisations to demonstrate that they are able to manage their existing responsibilities as well as take on the role of supporting a LINk.

The host will be accountable to the LINk and in its support function will be required to follow the LINk’s direction irrespective of what its own interests might be. The sort of organisations that we expect to become hosts are used to dealing with these kinds of issues all the time, as indeed are local authorities.

The model contract specification currently being drafted, addresses this issue and will include a requirement for an organisation to demonstrate it can deliver the contract without any conflict of interest.