Consumers… do we really care what they think?

We are meant to put patients at the heart of our commissioning efforts but we know that this is easier said than done.

Clinicians don’t always feel comfortable sitting down with consumers to discuss how things should be improved.  Patients may feel that they are being asked to ‘second guess’ clinicians who after all are supposed to be the experts!

Sometimes the communication gap seems too wide to bridge in focus groups or consultation events.

Program managers find it time-consuming and tricky to get the consumer ‘voice’ heard especially when under the pressure of deadlines.  This is particularly so when engaging diverse communities over vast geographic regions.  Often consumer engagement can appear tokenistic to both clinicians and patients.

Thought starters.

  1. So, how do we “hard-wire” consumer input into the commissioning cycle?
  2. Should we meld our Clinical Councils with our Community Advisory Groups- or would this be counterproductive?
  3. How willing are we to actually act on consumer feedback?
  4. What role should PHNs take in improving the capacity of consumers to participate in shaping the health system of the future?