Select Committee on Health Written Evidence

117. Evidence submitted by Ron Eskdale (PPI 43)

  I have been involved in a number of cancer groups for a several years and currently chair the Patient Partnership Forum (Central South Coast Cancer Network), In addition to my experiences as a cancer patient I have examined recent published material produced by the Department of Health and Joseph Rowntree Foundation during 2006. As you will see from the letter heading that I am interested in developing communication aids to improve efficiency in groups such as meetings.

  I am prepared to answer questions should members think this would be of interest and value to them.

1.  Executive Summary

  1.1  I find some of the evidence produced by the Department of Health in places confusing and, reminiscent of a script for "Yes Minister":

    eg "If we are to create a truly user-led service, centred around the needs of both individuals and communities, it is essential we create a stronger voice for patients, service users and citizens at all levels of the health and social care system".

  I hope that operations will be still consultant led.

  I would have liked to have seen some reference to the development of partnerships between patients, their carers and health professions.

  1.2  The problems of user involvement are well documented in the Joseph Rowntree submission, I am not certain how the introduction of LINks will help. Some reasons are outlined below:

    —  As far as I know no pilot schemes have been used.

    —  Both Health Authorities of various kinds and Local Authorities are under financial and administrative strain and external pressures at present. This is hardly a good time to introduce change.

    —  Nationally designed programmes seam not always to be appropriate to differing local conditions. Good practice and adminitrative directives do not usually travel well.

    —  The questions posed on page 24 of A Stronger Local Voice reveal some most helpful key questions which really need to be answered before deciding to introduce a new system of public involvement in the NHS.

  1.3  My experience suggests that before partnership groups and committees function well the following conditions need, to apply:

    —  The host institution needs to be supportive in providing accommodation and staff where this is appropriate.

    —  It is essential that each group or committee has a senior health professional as a regular member of the group or committee. This person should have good contacts within the organisation and have administrative support. Who pays for this will always be a bone of contention.

    —  Meetings should be chaired by a person who has then necessary skills. Training of course will frequently help. However what is more important is finding the right person; to do the tasks. It can either be a patient or health professional.

2.  Submitter's Experience and Area of Expertise

  2.1  Experience of chairing different types and size of meetings and conferences.

    —  academic meetings in Polytechnics and other Higher Education Institutions.

    —  Charities.

  2.2  Teaching experience in management with various Institutions including-the Open University as part time tutor.

3.  Recommendations

  3.1  Suggest the introduction of LINks is delayed until further work is carried out on the implications for NHS organisations such as hospitals and whether it can implemented in its current form.

  3.2  Suggest an appropriate organisation to undertake this is the NHS Centre of Involvement at Warwick University.

Ron Eskdale

5 January 2007

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2007
Prepared 6 February 2007