Make a difference in England
We are here
to help you get your views across on health care issues in
This matters because when people like you get
involved, it makes a big difference to decision-making. Often much
bigger than you think.
Where can I start?
Things vary depending on where you are, so the key is to ask
questions and do some research. This is as simple as having a chat
with the right people, or try a quick search online.
Here are two factsheets on how health services work and
where decisions get made, and how you can make a difference in
England - just click on the link to download:
a difference in England
health services work in England
Who should I speak with?
It could be anyone at your GP surgery, your local hospital
or your specialist clinic - whichever feels most important and
relevant to you. Any services you use should have a method in place
to gather your feedback. The process is usually known as 'Patient
and Public Engagement', although sometimes other names are used.
Either way, members of staff will have that information easily to
hand, so feel free to ask.
What can I find online?
You'll find a lot of information in a few clicks. Here are a few
search terms to try:
Have your say in NHS [your location]
Get involved in NHS [your location]
Patient and Public Engagement [your
Patient feedback [your local hospital]
Any of those should bring up some useful infromation for you to
Is there any more help out there?
Plenty. Here are a few places to start.
These should be your first port of call. Local HealthWatch
groups are funded by Local Authorities and supported by HealthWatch
England, which is the new national body representing the view of
people who use health and social care services. Local HealthWatch
groups are performing an expanded version of the role previously
carried out by Local Involvement Networks (LINKs). To find your
nearest local HealthWatch visit the Healthwatch website.
If you’re not near a local HealthWatch group, try asking your
local GP practice about joining their Patient Participation Group. It’s
also worth looking online for the website of your local
NHS Trust or
Foundation Trust to see if they have any details on getting
involved. Every NHS Trust has a duty to involve patients and carers
in decision-making, so you should find some guidance on how this
There are 28
Cardiac Networks across England. They’re a kind of ‘virtual’
organisation linking up health professionals, managers and
commissioners from many different areas, including ambulance
services, but all with a common interest in improving cardiac,
stroke and vascular care for patients. Most of these networks have
a ‘patient engagement’ function – in other words, a way of getting
people involved. So track them down and get in touch.
The Department of Health regularly has open consultations about
health care decisions. Have a look at
their website to see whether any of them affect you. You’ll
also find some great information on patient rights and Patient and
Public Engagement initiatives. This is a good place to get updates
on future NHS restructures too.
National Voices is a
coalition of health and social care charities in England. Their aim
is to strengthen the voice of patients, service users, carers,
their families and the voluntary organisations that work for them.
You’ll find some useful information and resources on their
Have your say now
There are several things you can do right now to make a
difference, check back for updates.
The NHS Commissioning Board is now
recruiting for patient and carer members of its 74 Clinical
Find out more or apply.
The Department of Health is working on a
new system of patient-led inspections of the
hospital environment. Take part in the
NICE (National Institute of Clinical
Excellence) is setting up new Public Health Advisory
Committees to develop national guidance on actions to
promote health and prevent ill-health. Sign
up if you are interested in becoming a community member of
As the NHS goes through
a period of change, we need to hear about your
experiences to make sure you continue to receive high
quality and cost effective care by completing our
15 minute online survey.
In memory of the late David Geldard MBE
Heart Care Partnership UK are accepting applications for a
bursary scheme to support patients or
carers working in
out more or apply.
Interested in getting involved with your
local Healthwatch? Why not attend one of their
special regional events - find out more here.