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Supporting commissioners to put patients and the public at the heart of healthcare decisions

Three years on from the creation of Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS England, the Head of Public Participation at NHS England asks how can we ensure that patients and the public are involved in their own care and decisions about how health services are provided?

In 2013 NHS England launched Transforming Participation in Health and Care (document is available on our archived website), setting out statutory guidance on how to involve the public in the commissioning of services, and people in their own care.

This was an opportunity to support the system to put patients at the heart of the NHS.

Since ‘Transforming Participation’ was published, we’ve moved on; the guidance has become outdated and there’s now a wealth of new resources, tools and good practice available. Many of these resources are now on the NHS England website, on our Involvement hub.

In light of this, we think that now is the time to refresh the guidance and make sure it meets the needs of CCGs now and for the years to come, as we work to transform the NHS.

We know that many CCGs across England already do excellent work to involve the public and to enable patients to play a central part in their own care. But we also know we can do more to support them.

We’ve taken time to reflect on existing insight and have done some initial scoping to look at the objectives of the refreshed guidance.

We are planning to produce two sets of guidance to outline CCGs’ legal duties – the duty to make arrangements for public involvement in commissioning and the duty to promote the involvement of each patient in their own care. The guidance will show how CCGs can best meet their legal duties in practice and also highlight the importance of patients and the public in transforming services – how we can work together to reduce health inequalities, improve quality and outcomes, and make services more sustainable.

We also want to share learning, experience, good practice and signpost people to new resources and the best examples of what good involvement looks like and the impact it can have in improving health and care services.

In the spirit of the guidance, we want to work with others to do this – it’s important that what we develop meets the needs of CCGs, patients and the public and the organisations that represent them.

We want your input to the development process and want to hear your feedback on how we can support the system with this refreshed guidance. We are already working with a number of stakeholders to develop material and we are approaching a range of partners in the coming weeks.

So, whether you are a working in a CCG or are a healthcare provider, a patient, carer, volunteer or part of a community or voluntary sector group we would really welcome your thoughts. It would be helpful if you could focus your feedback on:

  • The features of the existing statutory guidance (Transforming Participation in Health and Care) that you would keep and include in the refreshed guidance.
  • What you would like to see in the refreshed guidance to meet current system needs.
  • Details of any good practice (public participation or patient involvement in care) that you want to share with others.

If you would like to have your say on the refreshed guidance or you want updates on its development, please email us england.nhs.participation@nhs.net by Friday 13 January 2017 and tell us your name, organisation and contact details.

Olivia Butterworth

Olivia leads the Patient and Public Voice team at NHS England. Olivia’s responsibilities include promoting citizen participation and engagement in all aspects of NHS England business.

Major work areas include building a citizen voice ‘assembly’, the strategic relationship with the voluntary sector, the partnership with Healthwatch England, participation in specialised commissioning and facilitating NHS England’s wider engagement approaches.