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Plans for a more patient-focused health service welcomed

29/10/15

With the public wanting more control of their own health and care, we welcome Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s plans to increase patient power.

People

In a speech at the Health Service Journal, the Secretary of State for Health announced a number of measures including giving people access to ‘Ofsted’ style ratings of local services.

We know from our conversations with people that they expect to receive a safe, high quality and dignified service, but this is not always delivered. People need to be given the necessary information to make informed decisions about which services they access, and to be able to hold services to account if their needs are not met.

Additional measures were also announced to cut bureaucracy across the health system and free up more GP appointments.

During the last year, together with local Healthwatch, we have spoken to people across the country about their experiences of primary care services, and found that access to GP appointments to be a significant issue.

People are aware of the pressures that GPs are facing and but are not all currently enabled to access the right care in the right places to help reduce this.

Responding our Chair Anna Bradley said:

"Our conversations with people up and down the country show they recognise the challenges the NHS is currently facing and are standing ready to do their bit to help. So we welcome the emphasis today from the Secretary of State on empowering patients.

"When it comes to cutting bureaucracy and alleviating pressure, the public have interesting and realistic ideas about how this can be achieved; including replacing snail mail with e-mail, greater freedom to self-manage conditions and the introduction of a dedicated care-coordinator to ease non-clinical pressures on GPs. It's time for the system to recognise and make use of their feedback.

"We know that 8 out of 10 people are actively interested in sharing their ideas on how services can be redesigned to relieve pressure on family doctors. We want services to make the most of this opportunity, treating people as true partners by enabling them to share their views and shape the services of tomorrow."

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