LINks, which were introduced across England in April 2008 and now number 150, are made up of individuals and community groups who work together to improve local services.
Joan Saddler, national director of patient and public affairs at the DoH, said: ‘From the beginning of next year, all organisations providing NHS care in England will be required, by law, to take account of the NHS constitution when making decisions and taking actions.
‘It is vitally important that we not only raise awareness of the constitution, but also make the public aware of the different ways in which they can become involved.
‘With restricted budgets and resource, it can be hard to prioritise how to improve patient experience. LINks can help simplify this process, by making community involvement much easier.'
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: ‘LINks give patients a voice to help ensure that the services in their area are designed and delivered with their needs in mind.'