Today at the NHS Expo 2014 the exciting NHS Citizen model was launched. Interestingly, before the model is finished. The team working with NHS England are working very much in public and in live time. The purpose of the model is to increase accountability to citizens of the NHS England Board and, to enable big changes to develop in the NHS, fit for the future, with citizens.
I took a photo of the basic model, which is constantly being re-refined with groups of interested citizens…either live during events and workshops or via digital participation.
The event was packed with people standing around the edges and at the back. Clearly, delegates were really interested in how citizen voice could be heard effectively enabling the NHS England board to engage in better way and use that voice to inform priorities and decision making.
NHS England board member, Lord Victor Adebowale said:
“NHS Citizens is mission critical fro the NHS – it is thing we go to and get to done to. And it must be a place we go with and get done with”
There were many questions from the floor and I couldn’t do them justice in a blog post. But there were themes:
1. Ensure that the louder voices don’t drown out the most marginalised – This was raised in particular in relation to trans issues and the prejudice faced in accessing health services
2. How reflective is the assembly? – Here both older and younger voices were felt to be important (There are sessions tomorrow to explore how the assembly should work)
3. How accessible is the model? – This was raised in particular in relation to people with learning disabilities being able to participate and be heard
4. Why will this work? – There was some cynicism in the room, though very constructive. The project team welcomed this and Board Members said that people would really only know when change because of citizen voice had clearly happened.
Explaining that this launch didn’t mean the model was finished, and to emphasis the difference in this approach as opposed to approaches people have found less satisfying, NHS England Patient and Public chief, Olivia Butterworth said:
“It is not a thing – we have not created aboard and the voices that are part of this are the voices of the people we have been talking to. Mostly digitally but in other ways as well. So many voices and opinions – these voices come though in a genuine way that people can connect with and we can have that conversation – people from learning difficulties have a route and a way to have their say in this process. As to where are the teeth of NHS Citizen–Tomorrow we are going to try and model what the Assembly space will look like? This is a test and a work in progress. No one of us has all the answers.”