The patient’s experience is increasingly recognised as a critical dimension of health care quality, and efforts to understand and improve that experience are longstanding within the NHS and many other health systems internationally. The drive for greater involvement has collective and individual dimensions: fostering a stronger public voice in the development and improvement of local health services, alongside opportunities for patients to exercise choice and play a more active role in their own care. This agenda is not only about creating more accessible and responsive health services that are accountable to local communities. As Derek Wanless emphasised in his 2002 review of NHS funding, the long-term financial sustainability of the health service will crucially depend on the population being “fully engaged” in its health and health care.
The Patient Experience and Public Involvement programme encompasses a broad range of projects and activities (see below for more details). These projects cut across key themes of voice, choice and representation, and reflect the diverse backgrounds and interests of the staff members involved. Across this programme, HSMC seeks to embed the principles of involvement in how it works through the use of participatory methods and an emphasis on experiential learning. In particular, the programme has strong links with colleagues at the University of Birmingham working within this area from a social care and social work perspective.
One of the key specialisms within this programme is individual budgets and personalisation in health and social care.