Participation is important to those working in the NHS, whether they are planning, buying or providing services for people.
By speaking and listening to people who use health services, NHS staff can understand what is and isn’t working well. Then they can make the right changes so that services work better for patients. Evidence also suggests that participation can help to improve the health inequalities that certain groups, such as people with a learning disability, face.
NHS Staff, themselves, also have valuable feedback to give on how healthcare services work in practice, this can also help to bring about improvements. Staff often work together with patients and healthcare commissioners to ‘coproduce’ services that work better for everyone.
For staff involved in planning and buying services, participation should be a key part of their work and can lead to improvements for local communities such as:
- Improvements in patient treatment and care – leading to better quality of life.
- Improvements in how services are run – leading to benefits for staff, patients and carers.
- Significant cost savings – resulting from better use of resources.
This short film from NHS Networks highlights the importance of local engagement for Clinical Commissioning Groups.
You can also find examples of how patient and public participation has brought about improvements in services, for patients and staff, in our participation in practice section.
Not only is participation good practice but those who plan, buy, and provide health services also have a legal duty to involve patients and communities in shaping healthcare services.
Guidance on how they can meet this duty is outlined in our publication Transforming participation in health and care and our Statement of Arrangements and Guidance on Patient and Public Participation in Commissioning.