Creating a people powered NHS

The Head of Public Participation for the NHS introduces the Engagement Practitioners Network to be launched in January 2020 and encourages people to get involved:

As an engagement practitioner I know how hard it can be to find the right support.

It can be tough to find people to share frustrations and ideas with, constantly make the case for genuine involvement with people and communities and to remain committed to ensuring that people and communities are able to inform, influence and be involved in how our health and care system delivers for them and their families.

We have been working over the past 6 months or so to reach out to practitioners working in engagement roles throughout the system to co-design what a network could offer and what people can contribute.

Thank you so much to everyone who has been involved in shaping this so far. I’m delighted that we have a clear shared ambition and that we can take this forward together.

What the network looks like now probably won’t be what it looks like in a year or five years’ time as we will need to constantly evolve it to make sure it continues to meet the needs we have working in an ever-changing environment.

The work we do is essential to transforming our NHS and care services. The involvement of people and communities needs to be at the heart of how our organisations and systems work, bringing people’s experience and ideas into the decision-making spaces in inclusive and transparent ways.

We need to support each other, learn and share practice as we constantly strive to make sure that people’s voices are heard and that we create a future NHS that is driven by people – #PeoplePoweredNHS.

Next year and the years ahead offer great opportunity to make this change – whether it’s the emergence of Primary Care Networks, CCGs transforming services through collaborative commissioning practice, providers developing integrated and person-centred services, the strategic leadership of STPs and ICSs, the relationship with social care and the potential reforms on the horizon – the involvement of people and communities needs to be central.

Your role in facilitating that is critical to shifting the culture and achieving this.

I really look forward to connecting with you through our new Engagement Practitioners Network – it’s ours, yours and mine, so please get involved and make sure it works to support you in your work.

I hope that some of you will be able to join us at our Leading Change with People and Communities events on the 25 February in Manchester and the 4 March in London, which we hope will be inspiring and practical to support you in your role.

Olivia Butterworth

Olivia Butterworth is Head of Public Participation for NHS England and NHS Improvement.

She ensures the NHS works with citizens and communities to have a voice that influences the development, design and delivery of our health and care services.
Olivia is the national lead for the People and Communities workstream of the Primary Care Networks programme and was named in the HSJs Top 50 Innovators and the Top 50 Integrators in 2014. In 2018 she was named as one of the Top 70 NHS Stars.

She has a background in Community Development and education with a passion for empowering people to be their own change.

Olivia has worked with a wide and diverse range of voluntary sector organisations, both in paid and voluntary roles, providing support with organisational development, developing services, engagement, involvement and fundraising. Olivia is very proud to be a Trustee of Manchester based LGBT Foundation and a Non-Executive Director of Local Care Direct.

You can follow her on Twitter @LiviBF