NORTH Hampshire health watchdogs are going in for a major relaunch this week to remind the public they can have their say about the issues that matter to them in the NHS.

The two Patient and Public Involvement Forums in north Hampshire are holding a special event on Thursday to raise their profile and recruit extra members.

North Hampshire has two Patient and Public Involvement Forums - one for Basingstoke hospital and another for the North Hampshire Primary Care Trust (PCT), which is the Basingstoke-based body holding the purse-strings.

The forums are independent bodies made up of interested members of the public and local representatives of patient and voluntary organisations.

Set up under NHS reforms at the end of 2003, the purpose of the forums is to make sure all relevant opinions are considered by health bosses.

Colin Godfrey, who is a member of the PCT forum and an observer on the forum for the hospital trust, said: "The forums were set up so local people can have some input into their local health services.

"There are eight or nine people on each forum, with a fairly wide experience of the NHS, but we realise we are not covering every facet of it, so we are trying to get to the grass roots."

Mr Godfrey, of Sonning Close in Kempshott, has been on the PCT forum since it was established. He joined because of his close links to Basingstoke hospital through his 17-year-old daughter, who suffers from cystic fibrosis.

He said: "Both forums would agree that, for the first 12 months, we have been feeling our way, but we feel that, coming into our second year, we have clear aims to achieve.

"We can help with the decisions that are made by the PCT and the hospital."

Issues and projects the PCT forums are involved in include addressing the delayed transfers of care, understanding the support systems in place for post-operative stress syndrome, and visiting all premises from which the PCT provides or delivers NHS services.

This week's event is open to all members of the public and guest speakers will include Mary Edwards, chief executive of Basingstoke hospital, David Willett, from the Hampshire-based Help for Health Trust, and Samantha Falconer-Brown, an Expert Patients Programme trainer.

The event is taking place at The Orchard in White Hart Lane, Basingstoke, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

A second event will be held at Alton College, in Old Odiham Road, Alton, on Wednesday, March 16.

Anyone interested in joining the forums should call 0118 988 2111.