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Olivia Butterworth, NHS England’s Head of Public Voice, throws open the doors to the Patients and Information Directorate with an open invitation.
In June we are hosting the latest in our series of Open House events for the Patients and Information Directorate and we would like YOU to join us.
We last did this in January when we invited colleagues and partners to join us in a discussion held in conjunction with the Informatics Services Commissioning Group (now known as the National Information Board).
The aim is simple, to literally open the doors of our projects and programmes and to invite citizens in to see and hear about what is being developed and to contribute their experiences, ideas and expertise.
When I say ‘citizens’, I mean patients, carers, staff, partner organisations and anyone with an interest in contributing their experiences and expertise to improve the NHS
Some people call this type of event co-production, others might call it a hack day; we’re calling it our ‘Open House’.
This time, we are trying something new and different for us, with four regionally based events that are digitally connected by webcasts and social media, driving a national conversation based on local experiences and issues.
I think it’s important to explain why we are adopting this approach and to outline the principles that underpin how we are working to connect citizens directly to our work:
Regional variation: we know there is variation in health outcomes, health inequalities, access and experience depending on where you live in the country. Sharing our experience regionally in a way that can be heard, shared and compared nationally will highlight areas of excellent practice, help us to understand what this means and what may need to change.
Transparency and openness: we have a loud rhetoric of transparency and openness which we need to live in our behaviours and actions. Opening our doors to citizen engagement in emergent policy development, difficult issues that affect us all and sharing plans for implementation will help us to engage earlier and share the information that people need to be able to participate and contribute their expertise to improve our NHS.
Accessibility and diversifying voice: reaching out beyond London and Leeds to hear the voices of those who wouldn’t usually be able to contribute like this, alongside using digital technology for those who can’t travel or commit a whole day, should help us to connect with a whole load of people who want to participate, contribute and influence NHS England’s work. We are trying to overcome the typical barriers often created by our traditional approaches to engagement.
People are the most valuable asset we have: our skills and expertise in our own lives, health, families, communities and experiences are priceless. We need to make sure those that want to contribute are able to in accessible and convenient ways, where their voices are heard by those who are developing programmes intended to support them.
Co-production: If we are to move to a world where we engage in genuine partnerships, share power and draw on the skills and expertise people bring, then we need to think differently about how we engage. Commissioners and policy makers need to connect with the people who are impacted by their decisions so that they can learn about what matters to people and use the creative ideas and solutions that people often already have in their lives.
So our ambition in opening the doors to Patients and Information Directorate’s work is to draw in a wide range of expertise, experience, ideas and suggestions from people who will be directly affected by the programmes for which we are responsible.
We can only make real our rhetoric of ‘putting people at the heart of everything we do’ if we involve people, before our programmes are conceived and designed.
Please join us 17 June 2014, 10:00 to 15:30 in York, Leicester, Basingstoke, London, and on twitter through the following:
Open House booking form links:
- Visit the Open House website
- use #NHSOpenHouse for the latest updates on the Open House events.