On Wednesday 20th February we launched the test version of the NHS Citizen Gather space and on Friday 21st we began to ask people to submit their ideas on what NHS Citizen should be talking about and for feedback on the site.

Gather will give people opportunities to work together around particular issues, either those that NHS bodies want public opinion on, or those that arise from issues in the Discovery space. These might be issues concerning experiences of patients, users or carers, or those that highlight more general challenges (e.g. how services are commissioned). In this space, a participant “raises a flag,” seeking others who are interested in taking action on that issue.

Gather helps people identify and discuss the issues that the NHS should be talking about. Ideas that generate the most discussion and support or which have the most national significance will be brought to the Assembly meeting for further discussion with the NHS Board.

Since launching the test site we’ve had some feedback (and made some changes) to help the site work better for you.

Feedback on Twitter:

There was an error in the Terms & Conditions which talked about payment methods. This was a developmental mistake, there will be no charge to being involved with NHS Citizen and this has since been removed.

Users wanted to be able to sign in via Twitter, particularly as many people found out about the Gather space through Twitter. We have since added a Twitter login.

The URL that some people received on Twitter wasn’t working, we apologize for this. Twitter no longer allows URLs to be sent through Direct Message (DM) and we will no longer try to DM URLs.

A number of people asked why this information wasn’t being sourced from pre-existing conversations happening on Twitter. We will be bringing together all the conversations happening online and offline during the Discovery Stage. Gather is different from Discovery as it is a debating space, where people can rate and comment on ideas people have put forward for discussion by the NHS England Board.

We had feedback that the voting up & down ideas might be debatable/populist. We’re going to bring this up for discussion at the Gather Space at the NHS Expo in Manchester next week. If you feel strongly about this please leave a comment below and we will make sure to include everyone’s view.

We had feedback that NHS Citizen would be better and have more credibility as a totally independently run project. Because NHS Citizen is being carried out with the support of, and is commissioned by, NHS England it allows us to build citizens’ opinion in to the very heart of how NHS England is run and gives direct access to the NHS England Board. We believe that openness, transparency and the involvement of citizens will make NHS Citizen credible and accountable, it is being designed collaboratively with your help. NHS England belongs to you, so does NHS Citizen.

People highlighted the current patient voice organisations working hard to make sure citizens’ voice are heard in the NHS. We wholeheartedly agree, we want to bring together those voices with the wider community to have a direct say over how NHS England is run. patient groups can also play a valuable role in helping us to reach the voices that aren’t always heard through standard channels.

We had feedback that people need to know more about what problems NHS Citizen trying to address. That’s not for us to answer. We’re in the process of asking you what you want to talk about, this isn’t top-down bureaucracy, this is about you deciding what’s important.

By email:

People found some difficulty navigating the site. We’re feeding back all navigational problems to the developers and will ensure that everything possible is done to make the site as simple and intuitive as possible. In the meantime, if you have any problems navigating the site, please get in touch and we will help guide you through the process.

On the site:

People have commented on the site saying they would like a way to respond to an idea in a neutral way, neither positively or negatively. We’re going to bring this up for discussion at the Gather Space at the NHS Expo in Manchester next week. If you feel strongly about this please leave a comment below and we will make sure to include everyone’s view.

We are holding live events around the county, so that you can have a say in the design of NHS Citizen. You can also watch and take part in the live NHS Citizen events here.

We’ve created a Twibbon, so you can show your support for NHSCitizen, add it here.

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Written by The Demsoc Team

The Democratic Society is an organisation supporting participation, citizenship and better ways of doing government