Whose NHS Is It Anyway?

Whose NHS is it anyway? - Sharing the Power with Patients and the Public, a report by the NHS Alliance, is being launched today at the House of Lords.

The NHS Alliance has long championed the idea of both participatory and democratic accountability in the NHS. And this report, the result of a year-long debate with key stakeholders, is a detailed plan of action on engagement across the NHS.

Dr Brian Fisher, PPI Lead for the NHS Alliance, said: "This is a comprehensive set of recommendations for implementing effective PPI across the NHS. It addresses involvement both at an individual level, when a patient goes to see the doctor, and collective level, by involving local people in planning and designing their local NHS."

The report's five main recommendations are:

1) More shared decisions in the consulting room - greater support for initiatives that allow patients to take more control if they want it. Shared decision making and people focused skills need to be a stronger theme in professional training and regulation.

2) GP surgeries to be more responsive to their local populations - closer engagement between GP practices and their patients, communities and LINks, supported by more sensitive regulation and monitoring.

3) More responsive and accountable commissioning. Commissioning, whether through primary care trusts (PCTs) or practice based commissioning (PBC) clusters, will be more effective if it involves patients and communities.

4) A stronger push at national level to share power with patients and citizens, government, regulators and professions do more to promote shared decision making for individual patients, including more community participation in the NHS, and a more listening and responsive service.

5) Explore co-production of services - this could offer a new vision of how primary care could design, deliver and monitor improved health care, in collaboration with the population it serves, through users groups, LINks and the voluntary sector.

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