Posted on 14th September, 2005
From the 14th of September citizens across the country will have the opportunity to tell the Government what they want in the future from health and community services.
Your Health, Your Care, Your Say, a major public consultation exercise, will get underway today with the first of four public engagement events in Gateshead. Other events like this one will take place in Leicester, London and Plymouth over the next month and local events will be run throughout the country by the NHS, Local Authorities and voluntary organisations.
This is the first exercise of its kind in this country and thousands of people and hundreds of organisations around the country will take part. Participants will be asked a number of questions about what they want from community health and social care services in their everyday lives. The three questions that the public will be asked during the consultation are:
1. How can people look after themselves? How can we help you take care of yourself and support you and your family in your daily lives?
2. When you and your family need help and support, how, when, where and from whom do you want to get it?
3. How can we help you get the right services, when you need them, and ensure your care and support is properly coordinated?
In addition to the three questions, participants will be asked to debate other topics and ideas. These include what can we do to help older people remain independent and stay in their own homes, how do we tackle root causes of ill-health, and would this investment save the NHS money in the long run, should people be allowed to register with a family doctor near their home and workplace and how do we ensure continuity of care with this approach. Marking the start of the consultation Patricia Hewitt said: "This exercise is a chance for us to see democracy in action and really listen to what people want and what they don't want. More than five million people in England live more than 10 miles from a hospital and around 90% of all the contact that people have with the NHS and care services takes place in the community. It therefore makes sense for us to focus our attention on these services and ask the public for ideas on what they should look like in the future. "People want to be given a greater say in decisions about services that affect their lives, which is why we are using this new approach of democratic engagement to develop new policy. In addition to the regional events, local organisations, such as local authorities, involved in providing services will consult with patients, users, carers, the public and staff through their own events. I am also extending the reach of this engagement further with an online questionnaire that I would like to see as many people as possible submit." http://www.nhs.uk/yoursay/