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Be a Local Advisory Health Council Member

By: Lynne Conner - Updated: 28 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Local Advisory Health Council Nhs

Your health is precious. Everyone wants to see health services doing their best for people, especially vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly. Have your say in the running of the NHS and represent the voice of your local community by volunteering as a local advisory health council member. Not only will you be making a difference but you will gain valuable experience in committee work.

Councils welcome members from all sections of the community and you don’t need a medical background. Volunteering could be useful if you are considering a medical career or want to gain skills in decision making and leadership. It also gives you an insight into and a say in the running of your local health service.

What are Local Advisory Health Councils

Local Advisory Health Councils are set up in each NHS region. They give members of the public a chance to feed back on services and influence their development It is important that the NHS listens to the needs and wishes of the public and this is your opportunity to learn more about how the system works and to have your say.

Who Can Become a Member?

Members need to be over 18 and undergo an interview process. They can be patients, carers or members of the general public. No medical knowledge is necessary - the aim of the group is to reflect the diversity of the local community. If you are actively involved in your local community or have awareness of local issues that is a bonus. It is also helpful but not essential if you have used NHS services in the past.

You need to be able to spare 2-3 days per month. Travelling expenses are paid and some employers may give time off to attend. You need to be able to work in a team and be able to understand reports and detailed information. Volunteers also need to believe in equality and patients rights and be able to preserve confidentiality. You can’t become a member if you have worked for the NHS in the last 5 years.

When applying you will need to supply references and if accepted will undergo a Criminal Records Bureau/Disclosure Scotland background check.

What is Involved?

Full training is given as well as a one-day induction course. Councils are independent and monitor local NHS performance, gather information and research statistics. They also write and produce reports.

Volunteers ensure that local people have their voices heard and make suggestions for improvement. In this role you will learn about current health initiatives and issues facing the NHS and have input into the planning of future services. Learn about the work of GPs, hospitals and walk-in centres, pay visits to individual hospitals and GPs practices and fact find by interviewing and talking to medical staff.

You will also work with and advise local Health Boards and are enabled to request information from hospitals and the Health board in order to report back on the operation of the local health service.

The work will give you an insight into the issues and initiatives of the NHS and an opportunity to enhance communication, leadership and analytical skills.

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