Select Committee on Health Written Evidence

109. Evidence submitted by Louise Bate (PPI 95)

  1.  The purpose of patient and public involvement is to improve the delivery of healthcare. To develop a patient-led NHS, patients and the public need to be actively involved in the planning, design and delivery of healthcare services.

  2.  PPI Forums have had limited success because the membership process and committee model isn't flexible enough to actively encourage public participation. Currently a PPI Forums success is dependent on a good Chairperson and a committed membership, but this is not often the case. Volunteers without experience of committees are discouraged from participating by the lengthy application process, mountains of paperwork and the structured approach.

  3.  LINK's should therefore be designed to be more flexible, allowing people to participate on different levels. LINk's must be independent of the NHS, in order to avoid conflicts of interest. They also need to be supported independently of the Local Authority, in order to avoid political pressure. There needs to be some form of national co-ordination, to gather trends and issues. The DOH should take responsibility for nationally advertising LINKS in a similar way to the current information about ICAS and PALS.

  4.  LINK's should be designed to work closely with OSC's, the Healthcare Commission, ICAS and Foundation Trust Member Councils. Their purpose should be to actively encourage patient & public participation and to share information with all relevant stakeholders.

  5.  Section 11 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001 needs to be made clearer. Currently Health Trusts and OSC's are left to guess at whether a situation will be considered a "substantial variation". Public consultation by Health Trusts is often an afterthought, more about ticking boxes than actively encouraging public participation and comment.

Louise Bate

PPI Forum Development Officer

10 January 2007

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