Skip to main content
Home » Supporting the NHS » Put patient partnership into practice: 5 policies the next Government must enact
Supporting the NHS Q1 2024

Put patient partnership into practice: 5 policies the next Government must enact

Group Therapy
Group Therapy
iStock / Getty Images Plus / Biserka Stojanovic

Rachel Power

Chief Executive, the Patients Association

Explore a general election manifesto for quality healthcare covering patient partnership, access to care, health prioritisation, communication and workforce support.

The Patients Association’s general election manifesto emphasises the need for action to ensure everyone can access and benefit from quality health and care services. It outlines key steps for the next Government to address the challenges faced by the NHS.

1. True patient partnership

Patient partnership must be taken from theory to practice. There are several elements to make this happen: comprehensive review and update of the NHS constitution; making shared decision-making the default way the NHS works; enhancing patient involvement in NHS structures and decision-making bodies; improving data use for patient-centred measures; and equipping healthcare professionals with necessary skills for effective patient partnership.

2. Increasing availability of quality care

The next Government must fulfil existing plans to increase the support available to patients and raise ambitions for the health and care system. There must be full funding and implementation of existing pandemic recovery plans; a robust strategy to increase patient access to care, addressing health inequalities; and co-production with patients when initiating new services and care pathways.

Patient partnership must be
taken from theory to practice.

3. Health at the heart of UK Government

We have, for many years, supported a cross-governmental approach to managing the health of the nation. It is necessary to prioritise the reduction of health inequalities, address social determinants of ill health and adopt a ‘health in all policies’ approach.

4. Genuine two-way communication

Patients and carers report that poor communication has let down the work many NHS staff do. To support both patients and staff, we’re calling on the Government to give patients ownership and access to their medical information. Increase the numbers of care coordinators and navigators, improve communication between patient and services and information-sharing among services, including the way patient complaints are dealt with.

5. Constant workforce support

Patients can’t receive the care they need, or be equal partners in their treatment, if services are insufficiently staffed. NHS staff are burnt out and demoralised. The next Government must pledge full funding and delivery of the existing NHS workforce plan. It should report to parliament every other year on workforce needs or gaps. An essential is the introduction of legislation on safe staffing levels across the NHS; this supports patient safety and staff working in the service.

Next article