The September NHS England Board approved the recruitment of members of the public as Expert Patient Advisors to sit on the new NHS Citizen Programme Board. They are to bring public voices to the Board and to have an advisory role in the future of public involvement in the NHS in England.
On 19th October 2016 applications were invited for these roles via the NHS England website with a closing date on 10th November 2016. The invites were on a page on NHS England’s website. The intended ‘audience’ lists ‘patients’, ‘carers’ and ‘service users’. But the list doesn’t include members of the public.
The invitation says:
“The NHS Citizen Programme Board is looking for three Patient and Public Participation Expert Advisers. One of the candidates will serve as the Programme Board Chair and will be responsible for the administration of the Board and ensuring an objective and impartial approach.”
It goes on to describe the people they want to apply:
“The ideal candidates will bring significant board level experience, with a strategic healthcare focus, strong intellect, commercial and political astuteness, and a willingness to challenge.”
And also says that: “There will be payments of £150 per day (for those people not representing or supported by an organisation) for an estimated time commitment of 10 days per year. This is in line with the NHS England Patient and Public Voice Expenses policy. Membership of the group is for 12 months initially, at which point membership will be reviewed.”
It ends with saying – “NHS England wants to ensure that its Patient and Public Participation Expert Advisers are representative of the population and that a wide range of people are appointed to these roles. “
What this webpage does NOT say is that all representatives or ‘patient and public expert advisors’ are SELECTED by NHS England managers and REPORT to THEM – NOT to patients or the public as they are given no contact with the wider public.
So how can these Board members be representative of the population?
Why are they excluding the public in a Programme that it says is intended “to meet the requirements of the duty to involve”.
(This refers to the legal duty to involve the public – as in Section 13Q of the Health & Social Care Act 2012 !)
How can we trust that NHS England – when they say one thing and do another?
The role description and the Terms of Reference of the new NHS Citizen Programme Board are described in the NHS Citizen Programme Board Expert Patient Advisor information pack and it becomes clear that:
- “Patient and Public Participation Expert Advisers are appointed by NHS England’s Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) for the NHS Citizen programme, and will be accountable to the SRO for carrying out their duties and for their performance.” **
- “All lay members of the NHS Citizen Programme Board must undergo mandatory induction training approved by NHS England in order to undertake the role.”
- They will “Manage the public’s expectation around where their feedback will lead;”
- “The NHSC-PB will be jointly chaired by the National Director for Patient, Public Participation and Insight and a member of the public who will be recruited in an open and transparent fashion*** for an initial period of 12 months.” ***
Did you remember that the webpage inviting people to apply told us that “One of the candidates will serve as the Programme Board Chair” ?
Well that’s not really the case is it?
This person will be appointed by her and accountable to her, as it says in the Terms of Reference.(**above). So much for an “open and transparent fashion”, as it also says in the Terms of Reference (*** above)
This is not acceptable! It is not honest – and it is disrespectful to the public.
- The invitation to apply to be an NHS Citizen Programme Board member misleads.
- The members of the public on the Board are not accountable to the wider public.
- They are not required to be experienced in patient and public involvement.
- These public Board members are not able to act independently in their roles.
- The Director of Patient & Public Voice & Insight (PPV&I) selects them and manages their performance and how they carry out their duties.
- The Director of PPPV&I has total control over patient and public involvement.
- There is no collective, independent, inclusive and representative NHS Public Voice.
We have no say in the future of our Public Voice.
We have no Voice in the future of OUR NHS.
PLEASE share this information – and tell us what you think about it.