Putting patients and the public first

The health White Paper Equity and Excellence: liberating the NHS promises an NHS that is 'genuinely centred on patients and carers' and that 'gives citizens a greater say in how the NHS is run'.

It embraces the principle of 'shared-decision making' under which patients make joint decisions about their care with their clinicians, and promises 'an information revolution' for patients. Wider use will be made of tools such as patient-reported outcome measures (PROMS) and patient experience surveys. Hospitals will be required to tell patients if something goes wrong while they are under their care.

Under the proposals published in the health White Paper, patients will be offered increased choice, including the choice of a named consultant for elective care (where clinically appropriate) by April 2013. A national consumer organisation called HealthWatch England (located within the Care Quality Commisision) will be created, which will advise on information that is most useful to patients, and propose investigations of poor services. Local HealthWatch bodies (replacing local involvement networks) will advocate for patients and carers within local authorities.

Further commentary and analysis from the Fund

We've produced a number of resources on the topics covered in this section of the health White Paper and have listed some of the key pieces of analysis and commentary below:

Patient-centred care resources

A programme to help enable health care staff in hospitals to deliver the quality of care they would want for their own families. (Project, 2010)

The Inquiry into the Quality of General Practice in England is commissioning research into patient-centred care. (Project, 2010)

With the publication of the White Paper on health, Chris Ham defines the questions that it will need to answer. (Blog, July 2010)

Information resources

Information is destined to have a key role in the new vision for the NHS. So will the health White Paper live up to its promise of an information revolution? (Blog, July 2010)

With increasing emphasis being placed on the role of the internet in helping people to make informed choices about their health care, this project explores whether or not comparative hospital data helps patients to make better choices. (Project, February 2010)

This publication sets out the main debates and choices faced by those involved in measuring and using data on quality, and outlines some practical issues to be considered in choosing and using quality measures. (Publication, January 2010)

Choice resources

This publication considers how choice of provider is operating in practice and its impact on hospital providers. (Publication, June 2010)

Does empowering patients to choose their hospital lead to improvements in services? And is this choice of health provider being offered by and indeed, taken up by patients? (Blog, June 2010)

Following a patient survey, this report summarised whether patients were offered a choice, and how they made those choices. (Publication, November 2009)