The top panjandrum in the NHS in England, Sir David Nicholson, has issued another in his series of “how to survive the transition letters” to managers. It’s a view from the top that can’t be ignored. We like it because it supports innovative approaches to communicating with service users and the public and staff. Without communication that works, there won’t be any involvement that matters in decision making.
Think creatively about communication
Nicholson urges commissioners to think creatively about patient, public and indeed staff involvement and use communications in novel ways. More of the same won’t get the job done.
This is a stiff challenge to NHS comms culture, but essential because…..
….commissioners will require sophisticated methods of gaining insight from patients, public and staff to shape decision-making. That will require an externally-oriented commissioning system, highly engaged with and learning from partners across different sectors and industries.
And he has discovered the virtues of co-production. Now read on:
It matters because…
….if we are to realise the ambition of truly empowering patients, of ensuring there is “no decision about me, without me”, then we must work with patients, carers and the public on all aspects of the design of the new system. It is vital that this co-production characterises our approach from the outset, both nationally and locally.
So the message is: build in involvement from the outset, not as a bolted-on afterthought. Easy to say, much harder to do when many managers are trapped in a Bermuda-triangle culture that is anti-improvement.
Escaping from that culture is what liberation for NHS managers is all about. Patients and the public can help them hack off the shackles. Are enough of them up to it?
The Moore Adamson Craig Partnership supports user and public participation, trains lay representatives and develops responsive health, care and education organisations. We are ready to work with and support all those who want to make sense and a success of the new structures of patient and public engagement within the new arrangements for health and social care commissioning and providing. Feel free to contact us to discuss the opportunities.