The Patients Association
Weekly News
Working together – a conference for patient groups, students & service users
The Patients Association invites you to our second collaborative conference with Plymouth University on July 14th.The event will include an opportunity for networking and interactive workshops, as well as poster presentations from patient groups and Plymouth University students.

Part of the conference is devoted to the Participation in Practice Awards which were launched last year with Patient Participation Groups (PPG) in GP practices. This year we are extending this to any patient or carer group in health or social care, although we would like to hear from as many PPGs as possible about achievements over the past year.

Whether or not you are able to attend the conference the Patients Association invites you to submit an application to enter the awards. Applications are submitted by 1 page posters, which will be displayed throughout the conference. Those shortlisted will also be able to give a short oral presentation in an afternoon session, if they wish.

Please submit your entry by either a simple summary or a poster showing what you have achieved. You may enter one or more of the following categories:
  1. Student impact - how have students made a difference to your group?
  2. Influencing commissioning – working with your CCG
  3. Health promotion and education
  4. Widening membership and innovative ways of involving more patients and carers
Ideas that extend beyond these themes will also be considered. Winners will be announced at the end of the Conference. The conference is free but we are unable to reimburse travel expenses.

Winners will be announced at the end of the Conference.

For more information email by 27th June 2016.

Registration for the conference is currently open!
To book a free place just click here
Our Activity
The Patients Association are currently managing three nutrition related projects and invite any patients, carers or staff from other organisations, who might be interested in contributing to make contact.
 What are these projects?
  • Nutrition checklist – we are in the process of testing an adult nutrition checklist to identify malnutrition and nutritional needs for vulnerable people, living in the community and leaving hospital.
  • Hospital food survey - we have recently completed a survey at six hospitals, interviewing 780 patients on wards to obtain feedback on patient experience of hospital food preferences and expectations. Findings will be released later this year.
  • Child malnutrition – we have commenced a project to identify the needs of children of with malnutrition and how they could be better identified as at risk. We have established a multi-disciplinary advisory group and the project will be carried out over the next year with a view to focus on areas of risk.
For further information please contact Heather Eardley, Director of Development at

Patient Participation Groups and use of patient feedback data

Further to our workshop which was held with NHS England in April we are pleased that the recommendations from the discussion at that meeting will be taken forward. We are looking for six PPGs who are interested in working with us on testing and providing feedback on what type of data is useful for the PPG in working with their practice e.g. Friends and family test, Complaints, GP survey etc.
Please contact  if you are interested in finding out more.

We need your help!

The Patients’ Association is redesigning its weekly newsletter to ensure our subscribers always receive a high-quality mix of content from our own campaigning work to the biggest developments in the health sector.

Please take 2 minutes to provide feedback on what you think of our newsletter and what you want to see more of, by completing our survey!  
Private Health Chief Delivers Stinging NHS Criticism
The chief executive of BMI Healthcare, England’s biggest private hospital group, has criticised the NHS in stark terms at the Private Healthcare Summit which was held on Tuesday of this week. Speaking to the conference, Jill Watts described the NHS as delusional and ‘clearly failing’, before drawing a comparison to the British automobile industry in the months before its collapse.

The claim comes in stark contrast to a comprehensive 2014 study from respected healthcare foundation The Commonwealth Fund, in which research showed the NHS to be the best healthcare system in the world on key performance indicators such as effective, effective and coordinated care – despite spending less than all every other country in the study other than New Zealand.

Nevertheless, a number of challenges do face the NHS as it moves into an uncertain future with an increasingly ageing population relying on its ability to deliver quality, safe care. Recognising this, the Chief of the Association of Independent Healthcare Organisations, Fiona Booth, restated her belief that renewed work between private health organisations and the NHS was a priority, whilst Clare Aunty spoke on the positive role private practitioners could have in helping the NHS deliver the Conservative manifesto pledge of a ‘7 day NHS’.
Major University Hospitals Trust Comes Under Fresh Scrutiny from CQC

Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals Trust, which administers the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, has been served a warning notice by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which has cited ‘unnecessary risk’ to patients as a key concern.

The trust is expected to miss Referral to Treatment (RTT) targets until 2018 – 73% of patients are currently seen within the 18 week timeframe guaranteed by the NHS Constitution, compared with the nationally set target of 92%. More broadly, the CQC Is concerned about patient safety, dignity and care and has set a timeframe of August for the Hospital to achieve progress in ensuring patients are more effectively monitored and risks mitigated.

Chief Executive Dr. Gillian Fairfield, who was seconded to the Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals Trust on a two year basis after delivering impressive outcomes at the Acute Pennine Trust,  conceded that the warning made ‘difficult reading’ but noted that changes had already occurred at the executive and non-executive level since the inspection, including modifications to the escalation processes to improve patient flow, a redesign of the emergency department, and a newly opened 24/7 surgical assessment for GP referrals.

Whilst it is true that the warning does make ‘difficult reading’, it is well worth remembering that the inspection itself, along with immediately actioned responses, indicate the effectiveness and robustness of the CQC frameworks and procedures.

22,000 Homes to be built on NHS Land

The NHS Improvement Chief Executive has this week outlined ambitious proposals to build 22,000 affordable homes on currently unutilised NHS land. Speaking at the NHS Confederation Conference,  Jim Mackey emphasised the funding challenges and stresses currently facing the NHS across the board, arguing that financial difficulties would be dealt with for years to come.  In his response, Mackey stated the NHS is working with the Department of Health (DoH) “and other specialist colleagues” to develop a proposal which will make much more efficient use of NHS land across the country.

The plans go much further beyond merely improving effectiveness, as the 22,000 affordable homes will be provided to NHS staff rather than the general public. This is a response to a potential workforce crisis as increases to the cost of living in urban centres – particularly London – continue to rise much quicker than public sector wages.
Weekly review of Parliamentary business

This week has been dominated by the EU referendum, resulting in Britain voting to leave the European Union. The implications of the ‘Brexit’ decision on patients are as of yet unclear, although discussion about additional funding for the NHS (a key argument for the Leave campaign), started soon after the referendum results were announced. There will certainly be further discussion around this in the coming days and weeks, which we will keep you updated on. Please do email us any specific referendum-related questions you would like us to consider in future newsletters.

Meanwhile, the chair of the House of Commons’ Health Select Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, has submitted a series of questions to Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, regarding the Department of Health’s decision to shut the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions policy unit.

The closing of the unit is part of the department’s wider cost-cutting measures, though this specific decision has been heavily criticized by groups such as the Royal College of Nursing. The RCN is concerned that the decision will mean nursing no longer has a voice at the highest level of policy-making, a concern echoed by Dr Wollaston in her querying “what mechanisms he [the Secretary of State] plans to put in place to ensure ministers receive impartial nursing advice”. Wollaston also asked Mr Hunt how he will ensure UK nursing is effectively represented at the World Health Assembly and at other key European and international policy gatherings.

The Department of Health has responded by saying it is “absolutely committed to ensuring the voice of nursing is heard loud and clear in all of our policy-making”. Jeremy Hunt will take oral questions from MPs on Tuesday 5th July at 11:30am, which you can watch on

About Us

The Patients Association’s motto is ‘Listening to Patients, Speaking up for Change’. This motto is the basis on which we build all our campaigns. Via our Helpline, we capture stories about Healthcare from over thousands of patients, family members and carers every year. We use this knowledge to campaign for real improvements to health and social care services across the UK.
Copyright © 2015 Patients Association, All rights reserved.