Published on December 9, 2015

NHS Citizen: Looking back on the Citizens’ Assembly

Citizens for public services NHS Citizen

By Sophie Blake

Sophie is Project Support Officer at Involve, working principally on NHS Citizen. She believes that all citizens should be able to play an active role in the decisions and processes that affect them.

On Wednesday 25th November the first official NHS Citizens’ Assembly took place at the ExCel Centre in London. This national Assembly brought together over 250 citizens with the Board of NHS England and senior NHS staff to discuss and look for solutions to 5 issues affecting healthcare in England. These issues were:

  1. Preventing premature deaths
  2. Comprehensive psychosocial approaches to mental health
  3. Improving health outcomes for looked-after children and young people
  4. Support for people with dementia post-diagnosis
  5. Transparency in Clinical Commissioning Group decision making

Each of the issues had been raised by a member of the public, discussed by other members of the public interested in the issue and then prioritised for consideration by a Citizens’ Jury through a public vote.

The Assembly was a lively and productive day. In workshops on each of the 5 issues participants discussed what the situation was now, mapped what better would look like in 2020 and suggested what needed to happen to get there. The conversations were captured in graphic records, available to view on the NHS Citizen website.

Members of the Board and senior NHS England staff joined the discussions and committed to listen and act on what they had heard. As Malcolm Grant, Chairman of NHS England, stated “what today has done for the Board is to bring us, with you, face-to-face with the lived experience of the NHS”.

And the Assembly demonstrated how diverse the lived of experience of the NHS really is. Healthcare professionals, people with physical and learning disabilities, young people, retired people, community groups, faith groups and women’s networks were all present, united by an enthusiasm for the NHS and strong desire to make it better.

Read a quick recap of the Assembly here, or watch the webcasts of the plenary and workshop discussions online. A full report on the Assembly will be released on the NHS Citizen website in the coming weeks.

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