The Department of Health's.limitations on visits to care homes by local involvement networks.(LINks) is, in my view,.a patently obvious ploy to reduce the power of the public to have their rightful say (see 'LINks scrutiny system to bar patient networks from access to key services').
As public and patient involvement.forum members, we do not abuse our right to visit, but use it as an aid to improving services, a right that should also be accorded to LINks -.otherwise it will be a toothless being. It should be remembered that the right to visit is only one part of the remit of PPI forums, and we only use it when there is a reason to do so.
In answer to the Commission for Social Care Inspection spokesman's concerns, of course we understand the difference between a health setting and a social care setting. However, in whichever situation they are, it is still the client's/patient's home in the long term. I agree that it is important for people in care homes to have as much say as possible about who comes into their home, and that should include having a say about whether they would like to be visited by LINks. It should be their choice.
It has been my experience that many residents enjoy the opportunity to speak to someone new. Of course, one should respect.the wishes of those who do not want to be visited. To deny people, wherever they live, the right to make their own choice in matters such as this reduces their status and dignity. Those who make the rules need to keep this in mind.
Joan Thomas, PPI forum, Northumberland.