• Welcome! It’s great to see you. Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life.

    If you'd like to talk with people who know what it's like

PPIFs

nickh

nickh

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2008
Messages
1,428
Location
Birmingham UK
At a meeting yesterday I learnt that Public and Patient Involvement Forums (PPIFs) are being abolished and replaced with something called Links. I expect those here already more involved than me with Service User activism know all about this.

I have never even been to a meeting of my local PPIF. But as I understand it every trust (Mental Health Trusts in our case) had to have a PPIF which was independent from the Trust but still funded by the Department of Health (I hope I have this right?).

Anyway these are to be abolished as from 31st March and replaced with Links. Every COUNCIL will have set up some sort of Links organisation which will have a remit of involving the public in the provision of social and health care within that council's area. How membership will be defined is vague but the emphasis is on 'community groups' (I am always suspicious about these - I have never seen one in my 'community'!). The powers of the Links are significantly reduced - where a PPIF could demand a visit to, say, an in-patient ward, now there is just a 'duty to invite' laid on trusts etc..
And Links will have no rights to visit any private companies which are contracted to provide services.

For mental health issues the big concern is that - as so often - mental health issues and service users will be overlooked and drowned out by more fashionable and shiny health and social care issues, because where the PPIF's were dedicated to mental health the Links cover the whole lot.

It sounded to me as though the Government is watering down SU involvement and making it (even more?) meaningless.

But perhaps other people here know more about this and can correct any factual inaccuracies or provide a different slant?

Nick.
 
nickh

nickh

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2008
Messages
1,428
Location
Birmingham UK
This is the link to the Bristol consultation - must admit I haven't been through it myself yet but your local council should have similar information.

http://www.bristol.gov.uk/ccm/content/Council-Democracy/Consultations/health-matters-to-you.en
Many thanks Dollit - that's really helpful especially the link (sorry:)) to the Department of Health. My own council appears to have nothing whatever on its web-site - though as this site is appallingly designed it, and seemingly very badly maintained, it may be that I just can't find it ;).

Nick.
 
D

davidc-k

Member
Founding Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Messages
13
At a meeting yesterday I learnt that Public and Patient Involvement Forums (PPIFs) are being abolished and replaced with something called Links. I expect those here already more involved than me with Service User activism know all about this.

I have never even been to a meeting of my local PPIF. But as I understand it every trust (Mental Health Trusts in our case) had to have a PPIF which was independent from the Trust but still funded by the Department of Health (I hope I have this right?).

Anyway these are to be abolished as from 31st March and replaced with Links. Every COUNCIL will have set up some sort of Links organisation which will have a remit of involving the public in the provision of social and health care within that council's area. How membership will be defined is vague but the emphasis is on 'community groups' (I am always suspicious about these - I have never seen one in my 'community'!). The powers of the Links are significantly reduced - where a PPIF could demand a visit to, say, an in-patient ward, now there is just a 'duty to invite' laid on trusts etc..
And Links will have no rights to visit any private companies which are contracted to provide services.

For mental health issues the big concern is that - as so often - mental health issues and service users will be overlooked and drowned out by more fashionable and shiny health and social care issues, because where the PPIF's were dedicated to mental health the Links cover the whole lot.

It sounded to me as though the Government is watering down SU involvement and making it (even more?) meaningless.

But perhaps other people here know more about this and can correct any factual inaccuracies or provide a different slant?

Nick.
Nick

What follows is a combination of historical detail my personal opinion - I shall try and be clear which is which and add references where I have them...

Some years ago we had Community Health Councils. They were abolished in England (though not Wales, and Scotland is completely different) and the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health (CPPIH) was set up instead. CPPIH was responsible for establishing a PPI Forum for every NHS Trust and Primary Care Trust in England (about 575 at the time). CPPIH had a budget of about £34 Million when it was established. I was appointed to the board (there goes my anonymity !) so have a pretty reasonable grasp of the next bit of the story (I stepped down from the board in August)...

Each forum was established with at least 7 members, but there was no upper limit. They were supported by a forum support organisation (FSO) most of which were existing charities, (none were mental health charities btw). They in turn were accountable to the central CPPIH. We collated all the work that they did and acted upon it. The forum members had the power to enter and inspect any premisis that provided health services at taxpayers' expense. Because they were linked directly to NHS trusts, a number were specialist mental health forums, and a lot of the forum members were people who had used (or were using) mental health services. All forum members were volunteers, the commission staff (and board members) were paid.

The next bit includes opinion...
  • Because there was a national body, there were both national standards and a degree of coordination that may well be lost in the new arrangements.
  • Because the money is now given to local authorities and is not ringfenced, there is no guarantee that the same amount will be spent on LINks as on PPIFs.
  • Because LINks include groups as well as individuals, there is no guarantee that they will be independent of service providers. For example, a local MIND association could be both a part of the LINk and a provider of local services.
  • Because there is no longer a direct connection between mental health services and the LINk, it is quite possible that mental health will lose out to other health issues. Many service users who originally joined the forum of a PCT left to join the Mental Health PPIF for that reason

I would not say that everything CPPIH or indeed every PPIF did was brilliant, but it did get a lot of people involved and they did have real power, national clout and a ring fenced budget. All this has gone now ( or will have done by end March) and many places won't have a fully functioning LINk in place by then anyway...

There's a lot more to it than that but that's probably enough to be getting on with...

http://www.cppih.org/about_what.html may help
http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Managingyourorganisation/PatientAndPublicinvolvement/index.htm is the Department of Health bit
and http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Managingyourorganisation/PatientAndPublicinvolvement/DH_076482
should explain a bit about LINks
 
Last edited:
nickh

nickh

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2008
Messages
1,428
Location
Birmingham UK
David,

I won't quote your reply as that would start to get ridiculous! But it is enormously helpful to me - it is just this kind of stuff which I am trying to find out about, and get my head around, as a newcomer to the area.

Thanks again.

Nick.

PS: My local PPIF is having a final meeting in about 10 days which I hope to attend and find out more about the situation locally.
 
D

davidc-k

Member
Founding Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Messages
13
David,
it is just this kind of stuff which I am trying to find out about, and get my head around, as a newcomer to the area.
the real challenge is to understand something before it gets abolished ;)
 
Top