Patient engagement and involvement

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Part of Inquiry into the quality of general practice in England

The role of the patient is no longer as a passive recipient of care. Nowadays doctors are expected to engage patients in their own health, care and treatment. There are also a number of initiatives to encourage patient involvement in the design, planning and delivery of health services.

Related document: The quality of patient engagement and involvement in primary care

What did we explore?

To inform its work, the Inquiry panel commissioned a research project from Picker Institute Europe to examine the role of patient engagement and involvement in the quality and development of general practice services. The quality of patient engagement and involvement in primary care explores how to improve and measure the quality of the engagement process, and reviews good practice examples of patient involvement. The paper's authors are Suzanne Parsons, Anna Winterbottom, Peter Cross and Don Redding.

What have we learnt about patient engagement and involvement?

In February 2010 the Inquiry held a seminar on patient engagement and involvement with participants including GPs, practice nurses, NHS executives, health academics and patient representatives.

Key issues raised in discussion include:

  • Whether the power relationships between doctors and patients must shift for real engagement and involvement to take place.
  • The need for GPs to 'reach out' to less accessible populations and make them part of the engagement and involvement process.
  • The role of Local Medical Committees (LMCs) and Local Involvement Networks (LINks) in encouraging general practice to be more engaged and involved.

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