Every patient who is in contact with the health service has different needs. The health system has to find a way to deal with each person individually but at the same time organise services and processes that manage large numbers of patients. As a public health service, it also needs to be seen to give everyone the same access and opportunities for treatment.
Patient Focus and Public Involvement emphasises two different ways in which people can participate in healthcare:
Provisions of treatments and service which put the needs of the patient at the centre to improve patient experience and outcomes. Patient focus is something we want to take place everyday in the interaction between staff and patients aiming to improve the patient experience.
Involving people in decisions about how their health service is designed and provided. Public involvement can be part of the planning approach of an organisation.
Patient focus has a personal and individual emphasis while public involvement concerns the organisation and arrangement of health services at an area, division or Board level.
The central theme of patient and public involvement work since 2001 has been on the need to bring about cultural change to achieve a health service:
- Where people are respected, treated as individuals and involved in their own care
- Where individuals, groups and communities are involved in improving the quality of care, in influencing priorities and in planning services
- Designed for and involving users.
There isn’t one single way to involve people. In the health service different levels of involvement take place every day and include; the involvement of individual patients in discussion and decisions on their care; patient panels of working groups and consultation exercises with the public.