Final Report > Recommendations > Public involvement through empowerment
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Public involvement through empowerment
- The involvement of the public in the NHS must be embedded in its structures: the perspectives of patients and of the public must be heard and taken into account wherever decisions affecting the provision of healthcare are made.
- Organisations which are not part of the NHS but have an impact on it, such as Royal Colleges, the GMC, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the body responsible for regulating the professions allied to medicine, must involve the public in their decision-making processes, as they affect the provision of healthcare by the NHS.
- The processes for involving patients and the public in organisations in the NHS must be transparent and open to scrutiny: the annual report of every organisation in the NHS should include a section setting out how the public has been involved, and the effect of that involvement.
- The public's involvement in the NHS should particularly be focused on the development and planning of healthcare services and on the operation and delivery of healthcare services, including the regulation of safety and quality, the competence of healthcare professionals, and the protection of vulnerable groups.
- Proposals to establish Patients' Forums and Patients' Councils must allow for the involvement of the wider public and not be limited only to patients or to patients' groups. They must be seen as an addition to the process of involving patients and the public in the activities of the NHS, rather than as a substitute for it.
- The mechanisms for the involvement of the public in the NHS should be routinely evaluated. These mechanisms should draw on the evidence of what works.
- The process of public involvement must be properly supported, through for example, the provision of training and guidance.
- Financial resources must be made available to enable members of the public to become involved in NHS organisations: this should include provision for payments to cover, for example, the costs of childcare, or loss of earnings.
- The involvement of the public, particularly of patients, should not be limited to the representatives of patients' groups, or to those representing the interests of patients with a particular illness or condition: the NHS Modernisation Agency should advise the NHS on how to achieve the widest possible involvement of patients and the public in the NHS at local level.
- Primary care trusts (and groups), given their capacity to influence the quality of care in hospitals, must involve patients and the public, for example through each PCG/T's Patient and Advocacy Liaison Service. They must make efforts systematically to gather views and feedback from patients. They must pay particular attention to involving their local community in decision-making about the commissioning of hospital services.
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