Headlines: June 2nd, 2006

A new resource centre has opened to support National Health Service and organisations working to involve people in local services. The national Patient and Public Involvement Resource Centre will promote the value of involving people and it will work closely with patients and NHS personnel to build on moves towards greater involvement that are already in place around the country.The new centre begins work this month following a call last autumn for bids from groups to run it. The successful bid came from a consortium made up of the University of Warwick, The Centre for Public Scrutiny and the Long term Medical Conditions Alliance. Dr Jonathan Tritter, the Executive Director of the new centre said the consortium had discussed its plans with key stakeholders including the Royal College of Nursing Institute, the National Consumer Council, the Royal College of Physicians and the National Association for Patient Participation as well as with the NHS, to ensure that it reflected different needs.

“The overriding issue from talking to these organisations is that although patients have been involved in one way or another with their own health, or the health of their friends, family or loved ones, their views and experiences may not have always been sought or indeed, their voices heard,” he said.

Coming reforms such as patient choice and practice based commissioning, he said, made it essential that systems were in place to ensure that patients’ and public views were listened to and incorporated into the planning, design and delivery of current and future services. The new centre would act as a gateway to help NHS staff, health professionals and people from the voluntary and statutory sectors to turn patient and public involvement into everyday practice.