Last update 8th. July 2004


PPIFs - The Way Forward

Since their inception the role of PPIFs has been poorly advertised, poorly supported and poorly funded and may now be as a result facing extinction.

Yet the need for an oversight and scrutiny facility that is coupled with service development in the NHS and that is patient led/patient focussed is self evident. Instead of disablement/reinvention we need to look at what can be achieved with the redesign of the current structure through the use of modelling.

By combining a geographical area which is fully reflective of the diversity of need within the NHS and its attendant services, Lambeth PCT, Southwark PCT, GSTT, SLAM and KCH with a pan London provider namely the LAS within a co-operative PPIF structure we can fully understand the complexities of need, social exclusion and patient requirement across a full spectrum of service delivery/capability.

This would be a congregation of SE London PPIFs sharing a common support organisation housed within a central facility. It would provide common staffing capability, common meeting capability and a mechanism for fast tracking interfora discussion. The combined PPIF would take responsibility/ownership for identifying the appropriate FSO, as opposed to it being thrust upon them; the very nature of our work dictates this. Funding would come through the CPPIH/NHS/GLA/Local Authorities and all funding would be transparent without commitment of support to funders. Ours would be a task of both working with the service providers and scrutinising/auditing their work in an independent, nondependent, structure.

Our first task would be member recruitment to ensure that we are fully reflective in terms of the demographics of disability, BME origin, gender, LGBT choice, age and faith. This would be matrixed through the local Community Empowerment Networks, initially electronically, then by mail, phone calls and meeting attendance. This would be supplemented by advertising in all NHS facilities, with the possibility of sponsorship coming through companies whose products are responsible for health concern [e.g. tobacco, alcohol, fast/processed food] under their corporate responsibility protocols.

The PPIFs would be responsible, in their turn, for the prepping of information packs, in all appropriate formats, for distribution post contact. Their meetings would be open to the public but, instead of the current fortnightly formatting, they would supplement these with electronic meetings and timeshare office presence in drop in clinic style.

Their tasks would relate to the receipt of individual concerns, group/class concerns in terms of service delivery and the receipt of individual/group/class identification of need in terms of service forward planning.

The duty of the relevant NHS service providers would be to ensure:

  1. Regular dialogue
  2. Transparent provision of information
  3. Accountability
  4. Co-option of 3 forum members on to their management boards in observer/non voting capacity
  5. Access to premises/work practice at all times
  6. Commitment to full consultation

This would then be supplemented by the creation of quarterly meetings that combine the NHS service provider, the PPIF, CEN and relevant OSC.

To return to the opening paragraph/title we need to find a way forward, rather than reinvent the wheel while throwing away the design and to that end a model solution, which has the capability to find answers, develop best practise and ensure full patient involvement is the logical step... and that step should, by nature of diversity as a demographic key, be established in SE London.

Marc considers Strategic Questions for Fora and specfic issues in Patient Handling for Ambulances and Nurses.

Marc Jeffery Ph.D. [member of Lambeth PCT PPIF]

The joinedupwriting Partnership

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