Last update 6th. December 2004
A National Association of Patient and Public Involvement Forums
The Socialist Health Association Conference on Friday 3rd December, at which representatives of 20 PPIFs from around England were assembled, agreed the following propositions:
- Whatever organisation succeeds CPPIH should be organised from the bottom up. Any national or regional organisation shall be accountable to forums, not the other way around. Forums should have control over their own budget and resources. Decision making at all levels must be transparent.
- The present consultation run by Opinion Leader Research neglects a number of important issues which need to be decided.
- Forums need a national organisation to be established as soon as possible so that they may meet and collectively have a voice in their own future organisation. In the longer term it is important for a national organisation to be established which is democratic and accountable and can speak for patients. A national association has much to contribute to supporting an effective National Health Service to all communities in the UK and to good healthcare service delivery at local level.
- Among the issues which need to be considered in future are the relationship between PPIFs and Overview and Scrutiny Committees. Forums should develop a partnership approach to their work involving other organisations with an interest in health. Forums should be encouraged to work together and with Scrutiny committees.
- Any centre of excellence which is established could be directed by and accountable to the proposed National Association of Forums.
- We have grave doubts as to whether the NHS Appointments Commission is a suitable organisation, as it presently operates, to recruit members to forums who are sufficiently diverse to reflect the populations they serve. It is crucial for Forums to be representative of a diversity of people from different backgrounds, particularly under-represented groups. Forums should be enabled to assist in recruitment in order to tackle this problem effectively.
- We request CPPIH or the Department of Health to fund a national conference to which all PPIFs are invited to send delegates without delay. If CPPIH is not prepared to do this we propose to organise one ourselves. This conference shall consider these issues together with any other matters pertaining to the future organisation of Forums and patient representation in the NHS. The event should belong to Forums from the start. The event needs to be organised in a transparent way, which reflects and respects diverse experience coming together to create a national body.