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Notes from the field of public involvement

Sunday, 29 January 2006

Patients, users and reconfiguration - what the Managers Rulebook says

This week the Deaprtment of Health published the much-trailed Managers Rulebook (proper name: NHS in England: Operating Framework for 2006-07 found at www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/12/73/15/04127315.pdf).

Buried within its admonition to put financial balance ("achieving robust financial health") at the top of the agenda ahead of providing clinical services is this statement about where engaging patients fits into the managerial discipline of reconfiguring services:

[para 4.9] "The forthcoming White Paper will set out a vision for the shift of services to primary and community settings, and will provide a further trigger for reviewing existing configurations as the year progresses. The process of change is important in any service reconfiguration. It is essential to engage patients and users at a very early stage in considering the challenges, opportunities and options for strengthening services through reconfiguration. This process needs to be made visible to the public, for example through a citizens' jury or panel, so that they can be involved in developing the options for consultation. This is not intended to block or even slow down change; by involving local people early, it is more likely that the best decisions will be made and that the right changes will be made quickly, smoothly and effectively."

The White Paper on health care outside of hospitals is due to appear early next week. Before you start pouring over your copy, remember to fasten your seat belts - it could be a bumpy ride...

Andrew Craig | Send feedback