Making an original contribution to debates on health policy, this accessible and engaging book critically examines the future of health care and public health policy from the perspective of users and citizens. Consumerism, partnerships with patients and user involvement are seen as key to future health care and healthy public policies. The book outlines how individuals as patients, healthy people and research subjects relate to health services and how the public, as citizens, influence health care and public policies at local, national and international levels.
Chapter 5: Communities
The first step to democracy … is a ramp.
Many of the improvements that users want in health care cannot be tackled by an individual, but require collective action. These include decisions about what services are provided, how they are provided and to whom. How do users and citizens influence these decisions? Though there is no tradition in the NHS of democratic accountability or participation, managers have gradually taken on board that they need to consult local people and find out the views of ‘customers’ in order to make sure services are appropriate and acceptable to them. While the NHS employs a wide range of consultation techniques, including postal surveys, public meetings, focus groups and opinion polls, none enable members of ...