The current NHS Operating Framework, published in November 2012, is quite clear that patients should be at the centre of decision-making.
It challenges clinical commissioners to harness the experiences and skills of local patients, service users and their carers to drive forward future NHS reforms. The aim is to achieve an outcome-based NHS to improve the patient experience and enhance quality of care.
This article describes a local initiative which allowed patients to join with professionals in discussion about the future of the NHS and to talk about the patient role in clinical commissioning..
The Devon-based general practice in which I work, as a community matron, has embraced the concept of patient involvement and started to take up the challenge of expressing patients' point of view and giving their experiences the recognition they deserve.
The Westbank Patient Participation Group was formed in 2006 with the intention of acting as a 'critical friend' to the local practices of Starcross and Exminster, Devon.
At the group's inception, it was agreed that it should neither be involved in fundraising nor be the conduit for patients' complaints,; rather, the remit should be to act constructively in the interest of both patients and staff to improve the local patient and professional experience and have a positive impact upon the services provided.