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Many areas still need effective public engagement

A new report by the King’s Fund highlights some of the challenges and opportunities that exist with future changes to health and care services.

The report, Delivering Sustainability and Transformation Plans, which looks at the 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) that were submitted in October 2016, calls for meaningful engagement with staff, patients and the public when discussing proposals for future service change.

Responding to the report, Jane Mordue, Chair of Healthwatch England, said:

“The King’s Fund’s report is a useful marker of the progress being made with STPs, but it also highlights that in many areas there’s still a missing ingredient for success - effective public engagement. 

“While many of the aims of the 44 STPs reflect what people have told us they would like to see, especially a greater emphasis on preventative and community care, health and care leaders need to seize this huge opportunity to involve people in shaping the changes made in their areas, rather than revealing what’s planned at the end of the process and bracing against expected opposition. 

“People tell us they recognise the huge pressure health and social care services are under at the moment and that things have to change, but they want to be part of the process and share their ideas from the very beginning, not just be consulted on the final proposals. 

“Local Healthwatch across the country are doing their bit, working alongside the voluntary sector to provide the NHS with advice on how to involve communities effectively and help cut through some of the impenetrable language often used in public consultations. 

“We are also sharing what we have heard from the hundreds of thousands of conversations we have had with people, providing a foundation of current patient experience and a clear picture of future needs. 

“In the months ahead we need to see STPs making the most of every chance to ensure people can help shape the services that matter to them. Healthwatch stand ready to help.”

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What do you want from health reforms in your area?

If you would like to share your views on what could be changed to improve future services, get in touch with your local Healthwatch. 

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