Time and time again, research has shown that involving patients and carers in the treatment decision-making process is beneficial to all involved as it improves compliance, patient satisfaction and experience, and ultimately reduces cost for the service as a whole. So, it is crucial that commissioners take this into account when designing and procuring services.
Listening to the public
This guide describes how NHS commissioners can involve the general public, thus meeting the following summarised requirements of the Health and Social Care Act:
- Individual participation – commissioners need to make sure individuals have all the support they need to allow them to participate in decisions made about their treatments.
- Representation – making sure that at least two people sit on each Clinical Commissioning Group.
- Feedback – at each stage of the commissioning cycle, patient and carer feedback should be obtained and acted upon. Furthermore, commissioners should take on board feedback from local Healthwatch.
- Redesign – when redesigning services, commissioners should provide evidence of how patients and cars have been involved and how their ideas have been implemented.
- Transparency – commissioners should publicly record whenever a ‘patient and public voice’ activity has been carried out.
Programmes and activities
This guide explores each of these requirements and details the resources that are being developed to support commissioners, such as:
- an online health literacy programme.
- ‘Patients in control’, a programme to support the delivery of patient-centred care.
- ‘People Bank’, an initiative which allows individuals and organist ions to register their interest in participation.
Throughout the guide, there are useful links for commissioners including:
- an overview of the legal duties for NHS commissioners
- an overview of related policy frameworks
- glossary of terms
This guide is important because it demonstrates that there is a lot of practical support available to help commissioners meet the patient-centred requirements of the Act. In your organisation, are you aware of all the new programmes described in this guide? How will you become involved with them? Are you doing something different to involve the general public, and can this be shared with other commissioners? As the NHS Constitution says, “The NHS belongs to the people“, and it is important for commissioners to bear this in mind as they carry out their duties.
NHS England. Transforming participation in health and care. September 2013