'Consult patients on improving care': MTG calls for formal guidance on patient involvement

All NHS regions should properly consult patients on how to improve outcomes, says the Medical Technology Group in its latest report. Research into the structures, policies and processes of the country’s 42 Integrated Care Systems found that, while there are examples of best practice, 40 percent of them have no formal patient involvement in Board meetings and subcommittees in place.

The report also reveals the postcode lottery for patient involvement, with the worst provision in the Midlands and the South, while the Northeast leads the way when it comes to integrating patient insight into decision making. 

The report, which is was launched to MPs and Peers in Parliament on 5th September highlights the best examples of patient involvement in the country, pointing to case studies that have helped vulnerable groups access care and initiatives to improve community specific health inequalities. 

The MTG is calling on the Department of Health and Social Care to publish guidance that requires patient representation on ICBs as well as the annual reporting of patient involvement and representation in ICB activity.

It also argues that the Care Quality Commission should be given more freedom to scrutinise the level of patient involvement being carried out by ICSs and ICBs. 

Commenting on the report, Chair of the MTG Barbara Harpham, said, “Patients have a unique insight into how their care can be improved. Involving patients in a meaningful way to consult with managers and clinicians is an excellent opportunity for ICSs to fulfil their goal of providing more integrated care that can address regional health inequalities.

“While many regions are making efforts to involve patients, it’s clear from our latest report that there is work to do across the country. Far too many ICSs have no formal procedures for involving patients and there is no uniform guidance from the DHSC on how to harness their insights.

“Implementing best practices in patient involvement will improve NHS efficiency, help us move to a more personalised model of care, and improve patient outcomes in the long term.”

The full report and its recommendations can be accessed here: https://mtg.org.uk/patient-involvement/

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