Involvement in health
What is patient and public involvement and engagement?
- A way of working so that patients and health service users are involved in decisions about our own care, our expertise is recognised, and communities are involved in how local health services are run.
- It is part of government policy for community involvement in all types of public services, under both the current and previous governments.
- However, the idea was originally started by groups such as disabled people and people using mental health services fighting hard over many years to be involved in designing and running services which have an enormous impact on group members’ lives.
- The terms 'Patient and Public Involvement' (PPI), ‘Public Engagement’ and 'service user and carer involvement' are usually used in health services. The terms citizen, client, community, consumer or customer involvement are also used at times. Some people choose specific terms such as mental health system survivors to describe their relationship with services. Each term has a different emphasis, with lots of overlap: some people identify with one more than another, or use some terms only in particular situations. The term 'Patient and Public' takes into account the fact that all of us are potential users of health services.
- Patient and public involvement covers many issues and activities, such as choice of treatments, hospitals and appointment times, taking part in groups looking at service improvements, or ongoing groups such as a patient involvement group at the GP surgery, consortia or a LINks/HealthWatch group, consultation through surveys and questionnaires, improving complaints procedures, and providing clear information so that people can make informed decisions. Patients and members of the public may also be involved in research about health and social care issues, and education of professionals.
- Involving and consulting with patients and communities is a legal requirement for all NHS Trusts and organisations. It is one of the elements that are checked in quality monitoring systems, and in turn this can influence funding.
- The coalition government is making many changes to health and other public services. Involvement is likely to continue to be very important, but will also face many changes, some linked to changes in how the actual services are organised, and others linked to changes in philosophy, such as the "Big Society", and a possible shift towards more emphasis on consumers. Changes underway, along with the disappearance of Primary Care Trusts, include changing LINks groups to HealthWatch groups.
Page updated: 23 September 2011