Click for HealthWatch annual report

The public health and social care champion, Healthwatch, today launched its annual report 2012/13, demanding a greater role for patients in the NHS.

It found that:

  • 1 in 3 of us report experiencing or knowing someone who has experienced abuse, neglect or malpractice whilst being cared for.
  • More than half of us who have experienced poor care in the last three years didn’t report it because we didn’t trust the system to act.
  • An overwhelming 94% of us think the nation’s health and social care services need improvement.

This research shows that the British public has serious and legitimate concerns about the way they are being treated and cared for by the NHS. This is despite, on the surface, that satisfaction levels are high with almost three quarters of us stating that we receive good quality care

Healthwatch went on to say that it believes this is a “paper-thin veneer of satisfaction” that stops the UK getting to grips with the widespread failures across the health and social care systems.

In its executive summary, Healthwatch said:

Taken together, these findings demonstrate the need for a fundamental change that puts the user at the heart of the services. To help drive this change, we think a set of rights in health and social care can help people become more empowered and engaged.

Commenting on the release of the report, Anna Bradley, Chair of HealthWatch England, said:

We all need to stop acting like grateful patients and care users, and start to see ourselves as savvy consumers, insisting on our right to safe, dignified and high quality care.

I agree and the main right we need is to decide how and where our money is spent. It’s why I have been promoting the Civitas paper, A National Health Service for Patients by Anton Howes.

Writing on ConHome, I concluded:

It’s time to enable healthcare decisions to be taken away from the monopolistic power of an unaccountable elite and placed with an ever-more informed public. People know what they want and they know what they are getting today is not it. The introduction of patient-led commissioning groups is exactly the sort of proposal that the Conservative Party must adopt if it is to honour the spirit of the 2010 manifesto and David Cameron’s leadership.

One Comment

  1. I fear you are deluded if you consider patients as customers or that they will in any way be allowed to have any real say in how or for whose benefit the NHS is run.

    Patients are not customers for they have no right to go elsewhere without being first forced to contribute to the state system.

    As such patients are not important and their care is made subsidiary to many other NHS priorities, and there it will remain no matter what the politicians care to do.

    Until the right wing of the party are willing to acknowledge that the NHS is a socialist system bordering on communism then there will be no improvement.

    There is absolutely no good reason why the state need to run the NHS or why it cannot be left to the private market given a good competitive market.

    Let the State continue to collect the insurance premiums in order to ensure there are no lapses but allow the patients to elect which insurance company to use and allow the state to purchase insurance for those who are out of work, for example.

    If the state then use all their allocated resources to ensure a competitive market for both healthcare and for the insurance, then and only then will the patient become a customer with a right to good healthcare.

    A good honest government would also reduce taxation by £2,000 per person, i.e. £8,800 per average family (the present cost of NHS treatment) to help with premiums.