Power to the people20th July 2006
New plans will give patients more say over how their local health services are organised and run. Primary care trusts (PCTs) will be required to formally respond to public petitions if more than one per cent of the local community is unhappy with a particular health service, putting patient preferences at the heart of the decision making process.
There will also be new arrangements for organised patient involvement; this will build on existing 'patient forums' by establishing new Local Involvement Networks (LINks).The new networks will cover an area rather than being tied to a specific organisation, and are designed to have more influence over services both in community settings and in hospitals.
The plans are central to new NHS guidelines on purchasing or 'commissioning' services by PCTs, stating that patients and the local community should be fully involved in the commissioning process, from the assessment of need to feedback on the performance of services.
Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary said: "People increasingly want to become active partners in their own health care and we need to create a system where people are no longer passive recipients of NHS and social care services but are able to shape them to suit their needs."
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Title: Power to the people
Author: Sue Knights
Article Id: 541
Date Added: 20th Jul 2006