Skip to main content

Health Services: Private Sector

Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to support the involvement of patients and the public in monitoring the effectiveness of services provided for the NHS by the third sector and the private sector. (185566)

The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, set out important new arrangements for the involvement of patients and the public in health and social care, including local involvement networks (LINks). LINks will enable local people to monitor local services irrespective of who provides them.

LINks will build on the work of voluntary and community sector groups; and, enable genuine involvement of a far greater number of people than is currently available, ensuring local communities have a stronger voice in the process of commissioning health and social care and enabling them to influence key decisions about the services they both use and pay for.

In order to ensure that independent sector providers—be they from the private or third sector—co-operate with LINks, we will make directions requiring primary care trusts and local authorities to ensure that their contracts with the independent and third sectors allow LINks entry to appropriate premises and access to appropriate information. This will ensure that LINks will have the same levels of access as they do in the public sector. These changes are aimed at promoting open and transparent communication between communities and the health service, and will develop trust and confidence, increasing accountability to local people.