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Leaders ‘pay lip service’ to public engagement, NHSE director says

Health leaders ‘pay lip service’ to engaging with patients and "do not look like or live the lives of the people they are making decisions about", an NHS England director has said.

Olivia Butterworth, NHSE’s deputy director of people and communities, told a public event hosted by the New Local think tank there is a “whole load of work” going on around reforming patient-reported outcome measures.

But she said that “none” of this work “starts with conversations with people about what do they value and what they want to measure.”

Asked whether NHS England’s top leadership is “paying lip service” to patient engagement, Ms Butterworth said: “I think often everybody pays lip service to it. We all use the right words. But whether it’s local government, whether it’s the NHS we know the words to use, but do we really live that in our actions in the way that we really like to change things?

“Or do we just blame the system for being too complex and it is the system that won’t let us, without recognising that we are the system, we make the system, we run the system, the system is people.”

Elsewhere in the session, Ms Butterworth said that “our decision makers do not look like or live the lives of the people they are making decisions about.”

She added that health services need to “join up around people” and that integrated care systems and partnerships offer the opportunity to “cut the crap of the organisational boundaries that stopped us doing things”.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 8 April 2022


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