Researchers employed by the NHS will be encouraged to take on patients as partners to benefit from their first-hand experience of the health service, Health Minister Baroness Jay announced recently.
Jay was speaking at a conference organised by the Standing Advisory Group on Consumer Involvement in the NHS R & D Programme.
During her speech, she stressed that patients are on the receiving end of NHS activity and therefore were well placed to give a firsthand account of the services available.
“Partnerships are the means to provide better health services and develop the NHS in a way that is both accessible and responsive,” she said.
Jay said the general public had a crucial part to play in obtaining valuable and relevant research about NHS services.
She added that the Government would be launching a policy research initiative to link up with the NHS Executive’s Patient Partnership Strategy, which is currently in its preliminary stages.
The initiative aims to examine a series of issues, including:
• The most effective organisational structures for achieving active and effective partnership between health professionals, carers and users.
• The ways in which patient involvement can be used to monitor the quality and delivery of services more broadly.
• The standards and requirements for education and training within the NHS.
• The methods through which patients and carers can be best informed about clinical conditions and the treatments available. The initiative will also analyse the best approaches to joint decision-making in healthcare delivery.
Additionally, the new strategy aims to address levels of individual patient involvement and examine overall service development.