Engagement has always been an important part of our work. As well as fulfilling our statutory obligations to involve members of the public and particular stakeholders, we believe that clinical services that haven’t been developed in full partnership with the people who use them and the clinicians that deliver them are not sustainable. We subscribe to the three fundamental principles of good engagement: Engage Early, Engage Widely and Engage Openly.
In 2009, we held one of our widest engagement events, the largest pan-London public consultation on health services that had been conducted to date, on proposals for new major trauma and hyper-acute stroke units. 13,000 people attended consultation meetings, around 14,000 attended local health fair events, over 14,000 visited the consultation website and a total of nearly 11,000 responses were received to the consultation. These substantial results were due to the dedication of our team to ensuring that the voices of the capital’s residents were heard and that their views counted.
Following the election in May 2010, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley outlined his ‘four tests’ for NHS service changes: “First, there must be clarity about the clinical evidence base underpinning the proposals. Second, they must have the support of the GP commissioners involved. Third, they must genuinely promote choice for their patients. Fourth, the process must have genuinely engaged the public, patients and local authorities.” – Andrew Lansley, May 2010
While we have always followed these principles, this clear statement of the Government’s aspirations not only endorsed the approach that we take but challenged us to do even better and engage more widely and even earlier in the process of developing changes to health services.
Patients and clinicians have always had a central role in our work, but in the autumn of 2010 we rose to the Government’s challenge with a substantial engagement period on the initial proposals for the cancer and cardiovascular models of care. To ensure that all patient and clinical stakeholders had the opportunity to present their views on the initial proposals, our teams:
These views have been collated and incorporated into the final models of care.