"The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it"
Aneurin Bevan

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Pause and the Future Forum

last summer the government made the unprecedented decision to pause the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill and to "listen, reflect and improve" the Bill.

Listening? Really, did they listen at all?

I am a patient with an LTC (of 35 years), so surely my experiences of the NHS would be useful? Apparently not. The Department of Health said that if people wanted to be involved in a listening event they should contact their local SHA for details of events near them. I contacted the West Midlands SHA and they told me that there were no (yes, no) events in the area. Then I wrote to my MP (a Tory MP) and I heard nothing until after the "pause" was over. His researcher apologised for the tardy reply and said that since the pause was over so there were no events. So no one wanted to listen to me.

Then there is the Future Forum. This is usually described as being the Independent Future Forum. There are some highly qualified people on the FF, but excuse me, Sir Steve Bubb? Is he really qualified to talk about the NHS? And how were these people appointed? They were hand-picked by the Department of Health.

If I were asked to create a truly independent forum I would ask all the medical Royal Colleges and other professional organisations, the BMA, the health unions, patient groups and medical charities to nominate people they thought would be able to make a good contribution. This is not what happened. The FF was hand-picked by the government. Is it no wonder that the FF came up with recommendations that were completely accepted by the government? The government clearly chose the right people.


  1. "The government clearly chose the right people."

    'Right' clearly being the operative word.
    (Sorry - that wasn't very helpful, I know)

  2. All is not lost...have you ever considered joining a service users forum or group to inspire student nurses and health and social care students? I don’t know where you live but you will likely have a similar set up in your local University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care as they have in Anglia Ruskin University here in Essex:


    Attracting service users is very difficult but opinions such as your own
    [health experiences and political opinions !] are now vital to contribute to shaping curriculum development within health and social care education.

    Make sure you tell us how you get on. Thanks