Ipswich patients not represented

SUFFOLK: Patients in Ipswich and those from the ethnic minority community across Suffolk are not being represented at a key health group, it emerged today.

SUFFOLK: Patients in Ipswich and those from the ethnic minority community across Suffolk are not being represented at a key health group, it emerged today.

The Suffolk Local Involvement Network (LINk), which aims to help improve local NHS services and is meant to have elected members to represent all the districts, has just had its first core meeting.

However there was no one to represent Ipswich, St Edmundsbury or the Black and Minority Ethnic community.

Although Ipswich has the highest membership for Suffolk LINk out of all the districts, with 232 members out of 763, there were no nominations for the role.


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The independent group, which is funded by the government and made up of people who have an interest in health and social care services, is now appealing for anyone interested in the role to get in touch.

LINks have been set up all over the country with the aim of finding out what people want from their local health and social care services and find solutions to problems. It can examine services, make recommendations and refer matters to the council's overview and scrutiny committee.

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Suffolk LINk has been run by an Interim Core Group since April 2008. However last month, the new elected group took over.

There are 14 area seats, two from each of the districts in Suffolk and seven places for specialist representatives. There are currently five vacancies to fill (two for Ipswich, two for St Edmundsbury and one for the BME community).

Michael Ninnmey, a Suffolk Coastal District councillor for Felixstowe West, said: “Ipswich has the highest membership yet no one has come forward to be a candidate. The disconnection between patients and health bodies is ever widening.”

Liz Hill, Suffolk co-ordinator of Suffolk LINk said: “Sadly no one in those areas wanted to stand. We are trying to encourage people to take part.”

Do you think it is important Ipswich has a voice? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Members of the LINk Core Group will need to be able to commit to two to three hours per week and attend regular monthly meetings.

The Suffolk LINk would like to hear your views and experiences on the health and care services you have received.

Although there is no official representative at the moment for the three areas, people are still invited to get in touch with Suffolk LINk.

Anyone interested in nominating themselves for the role, or want to put their views forward to LINk can call them on 01449 771246, visit www.suffolklink.org, e-mail suffolklink@shaw-trust.org.uk, or write to Room 18, Red Gables, Ipswich Road, Stowmarket, Suffolk, IP14 1BE.

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