Notes from the field of public involvement

Replies to: Latest PBC guidance = stronger patient involvement

Your replies to Thursday's post "Latest PBC guidance = stronger patient involvement" (M-A-C won't publish your email address and please let us know if you don't want your comment to be posted or for it to be posted anonymously).

Visitor's comment  "That's fine, but do you really reckon Patient Participation Groups have capacity to make a meaningful contribution?! And who is going to take a PCT to court for the breach? And who is inspecting it?"
Anon. 25-Feb-05

Visitor's comment  "Good questions. To paraphrase the estate agents, there is only one thing that matters: capacity, capacity, capacity. The PBC guidance applies to the whole of the NHS in England, so all PCTs are subject to it. Wandsworth PCT’s PEC has gone one step further and agreed that any practice applying for PBC in this borough must show evidence of meaningful and sustained patient engagement. Intent or vague plans to involve patients will not do.

In the most obvious way, that could mean having a functioning patient participation group that actually does things. Or it could be some other involvement process that can show evidence of effectiveness. There’s no one model. Where PCTs don’t make this as explicit, it is not clear how they will comply with para 13 of the technical guidance. Perhaps someone like the Patient and Public Involvement Forums should asking them at their next board meetings?

In each PCT, the PEC will be the body who will vet and approve, or not, practices and clusters of practices applying to hold commissioning budgets. The question of who monitors all of this is moot. Obviously the PCT has to, but I would also say that Health Overview and Scrutiny Committees would have a big role in this if they choose to take it. And that’s also the place complaints should be directed if PBC gets underway without involvement patients and local communities. I also think the Healthcare Commission would not be well disposed to a PCT that was letting practices do PBC but who couldn’t integrate user involvement with this. Time will tell."
Andrew Craig 25-Feb-05