Your views count
Local people and community, voluntary, and faith groups across the city can shape the future of the Hull NHS
Graham Gedney outside the Park Health Care Centre
"I like hearing about future plans for GP practices, pharmacies, and dentists," says Graham Gedney (57) (pictured above), from east Hull.
"It gives me an opportunity to voice my opinion to help ensure Hull people receive the best possible health services.
"Not only that but volunteering and taking part in health consultations and public and patient groups is a great way of using your spare time.
"I can recommend it.
I find the whole thing so interesting and rewarding.
You can take part in meetings, conferences, training courses and visits or just do bits here and there from home, whatever you are comfortable doing.
"We need people to volunteer because, without a doubt, their involvement will lead to improvements in health across the city."
For more than four years Graham has been passionate about improving health services for local people.
He started volunteering soon after being made redundant from his job as a shift charge-hand at British Cocoa Mills.
It gave him a reason to get out of the house, meet new people, and do something positive for the community.
Since then, he has taken part in several groups and consultations looking at a wide range of health topics, such as finding out how NHS funding is spent and making sure Hull residents receive value for money.
"I've always been interested in how things work and how organisations deliver services to the public so volunteering seemed the right thing to do," Graham adds.
"Both my wife and I - like anyone else - have had our health ups and downs over the years, so we've really relied on and benefited from the NHS.
"It has been there for us and by volunteering I can give something back." Graham says that he can look back with satisfaction on changes he has helped to introduce.
"There are lots of examples, but one that springs to mind is a visit we had a few years ago to Bransholme Health Centre.
"Back then the centre needed new carpets and seating, and the waiting areas needed changing to give patients more privacy when they spoke to reception staff.
"We went on a visit, spoke to staff, and wrote a report.
When we returned the changes we had recommended had been made.
It became a much better place for patients and staff thanks to our help."
Become a member
Graham has also become a member of NHS Hull and people across the city are invited to follow his example.
Members can answer questionnaires, take part in surveys, and also attend meetings and forums to find ways of improving local NHS services.
Hull residents can also join one of three Locality Boards to give their voice directly to health professionals about how services where they live in north, east and west Hull can be improved.
These places are limited but there are lots of engagement opportunities that will support the Boards.
"We want to ensure we are being accountable to local people and that is why we are asking the public to become involved and tell us what they think," says Lorraine Firth, the membership and voluntary services manager of Hull Teaching Primary Care Trust.
"We want people to tell us the things we are doing well and the things that need changing.
"The views of local people are very important and we will respond to the opinions and information they give us."
Local Involvement Network
Meanwhile, there is a way for local people and representatives from voluntary, community, and faith groups to have a say on how health and adult social services in the city should be run.
Following new legislation passed by the government, a Local Involvement Network (LINk) has been set up in Hull.
LINk is a network of local organisations and people and the aim is to represent the views of people and groups across the city to ensure they are listened to by health and social care providers.
It also has legal powers to visit services and see what they do; to make its views known and make recommendations; to ask for information which must be provided within a set time; and report its findings and get an answer.
"Anyone can become involved with LINk.
We are hoping to have it fully up and running from next month so now would be a great time for volunteers to contact us and get involved," says LINk manager Steve Kimberley.
For more information on having a say on local NHS services call 344739 or email firstname.lastname@example.org For more information on the LINk please call 324474 or email email@example.com
Working in partnership
Hull Teaching Primary Care Trust tel.