The review of 14 English hospital trusts by Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of the NHS in England, and his team – including patients, carers and members of the public in each of the 14 locations – is a brilliant piece of work. It was difficult, but done quickly – unlike the cumbersome Francis Enquiry on Mid Staffordshire. It was complex, but the outcome is clear, rational and easy to follow. Above all, it cut across many vested interests in the NHS, but the result is so compelling that you cannot fail to see its logic. It is a “must read” for everyone.
Service users and lay people were involved in the local reviews and the recommendations – called “Ambitions” in the review – reflect the importance of working in this way. It was “the single most important aspect of the review process.”
The engagement gold nugget
Ambition 3 deserves to be quoted:
Patients, carers and members of the public will increasingly feel like they are being treated as vital and equal partners in the design and assessment of their local NHS. They should also be confident that their feedback is being listened to and see how this is impacting on their own care and the care of others.
This is a huge gold nugget for engagement and empowerment. Our hope for the NHS post-Keogh is simple: Just do it. Now!
Now on to leadership
The last word should be Sir Bruce’s:
All NHS organisations should seek to harness the leadership potential of patients and members of the public as they fulfil their respective responsibilities whether as providers, commissioners or as part of future inspections by the regulators. Patient and public engagement must be central to those who plan, run and regulate hospitals and each has improvements to make in this respect.
The Millar Adamson Craig Partnership supports user and public participation, trains lay representatives and develops responsive health, care and education organisations. Feel free to contact us to discuss the opportunities. Follow MAC on Twitter @publicinvolve