Patient engagement gives people an opportunity to have a say in decisions relating to their health and care. Patient groups are important for that involvement, as they offer people a forum to give opinions and make their voice heard.
Set up to fulfil a variety of functions, patient groups provide opinion on what healthcare services should be provided, feedback around services, tests and modifications to ideas and plans, or even advice as a ‘critical friend’ around the direction of a project. This all influences the decision-making process.
Involvementoffers advice and guidance on the various patient groups.
WHY are patient groups necessary?
The Health and Social Care Act 2012 says the NHS has a duty to involve people in decisions about their health care and to consult and involve people when planning or changing commissioned health services.
Patient groups are vital for engaging with people and making sure their views have an influence, meeting legal duties in the process.
WHEN should a patient group be set up?
Patient groups should offer input at all points of engagement and decision making processes. They should be established at the outset of a project and as early as possible for GP surgeries and healthcare organisations, to make sure people’s views are take into account throughout.
WHO should be part of a patient group?
Anyone can join a patient group, but taking part does require enthusiasm, input and time commitment. Each needs a good mix of people, so this may be a factor in recruitment.
HOW do I set up a patient group?
Setting up a group is complex, and some of the main things to establish are the remit and purpose of the group, the type and number of members, as well as recruitment and running.