The Patients Association was founded in 1963 and continues to listen to patients and speak up for change.

Keeping you informed about the latest developments in healthcare

“Participating in Practice” - Developing Patient Participation Groups (PPG) - Conference at Plymouth University on Thursday 16th July 2015.
The Patients Association and Plymouth University held a jointly organised conference to celebrate the success of a one year development project across 230 GP practices in Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly funded by NHS England.  Over 130 participants took part with some excellent speakers and workshops.  The conference was also an opportunity to evaluate the first stage of a student nurse pilot project linking 25 nursing students to PPGs. This is the start of an exciting new initiative which will have mutual benefits for PPGs and students. For further information see our website or contact

“It has been a wonderful experience and the turnout was fantastic.”
 Kim Young (Student Representative & Nursing Lecturer) along with student Nurses talk about an exciting project linking students with PPGs.
Kevin Holton from NHS England poses with Nikki Thomas (NHS England), Director of Development Heather Eardley (Patients Association), Chief Executive Katherine Murphy (Patients Association), and Dr Mike Dixon (Chairman of NHS Alliance).
House of Lords Consultation: Impact of the Equality Act 2010 on Disabled People
The House of Lords is investigating the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on disabled people, and the Patients Association invites anyone with a specific interest in this issue to get involved in the consultation. If you live with a disability, or care for someone who does, we would like to hear your views on how successful the Act has been for disabled people and whether you consider that it is an improvement on the previous law (the Disability Discrimination Act 1995). The Act places a duty on employers to make reasonable adjustments to any elements of the job which place disabled employees at a significant disadvantage. We are specifically interested in how well health providers achieve this, and whether this obligation is actively enforced by the government. We would also like to hear about the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the role it plays in tackling disability discrimination, particularly in relation to compliance with the 2010 Act. Finally, we would be interested to hear how taxi accessibility can and should be improved, and whether you feel the Public Sector Equality Duty, introduced by the Act in 2010, has improved with recent changes.
If you have a specific interest in any of these issues, or more generally in how well Government policy on equality serves disabled people, and would like to share your views, we would be grateful to hear from you. Please send your comments to by 4th September 2015.
For more information about the consultation, visit: here

The Law Commission Consultation: Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty
The Law Commission’s consultation paper, Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty has been published. The consultation paper reviews the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (the DoLS) in England and Wales. The goal is to replace the DoLS with a straightforward and accessible legal framework which provides appropriate safeguards for people who lack capacity whose care or treatment is becoming restrictive. This consultation paper is over 251 pages with 42 questions. The Patients Association is concerned that this consultation document has the potential to be ignored due to the size of the document and number of questions. However, if you wish to respond to specific questions the Patients Association will be happy to take your views. Please send your comments to by Friday 30th October 2015
Transition between inpatient hospital settings and community or care home settings for adults with social care needs: draft guideline consultation
Link to the Consultation here.
This guideline covers all adults with identified social care needs, including older people. It does not include children and young people. It covers transitions between general hospital and community or care home settings. It does not include inpatient mental health settings. A separate NICE guideline on transitions between inpatient mental health settings and community and care home settings is being developed.
The Patients Association is preparing a response and invites our readers to give their view. Please send your comments to by Monday 3rd August 2015.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) are now consulting on

22 June 2015 – 20 July 2015
Parkinson's disease (update): call for evidence

13 July 2015 - 10 August 2015
Faltering growth - recognition and management of faltering growth in children: the scope

09 July 2015 - 06 August 2015
Gallstone disease: quality standard consultation

13 July 2015 - 14 August 2015
Harmful sexual behaviour among children and young people: call for evidence 2

10 July 2015 - 06 August 2015
Implantation of a corneal graft-keratoprosthesis combination for severe corneal opacity in wet blinking eyes: consultation

10 July 2015 - 06 August 2015
Insertion of a sub-retinal implant for retinitis pigmentosa: consultation

26 June 2015 – 23 July 2015
Joint distraction for ankle osteoarthritis: consultation

08 July 2015 – 05 August 2015
Multiple sclerosis: quality standard consultation

26 June 2015 - 23 July 2015
Sacral nerve stimulation for chronic non-obstructive urinary retention: consultation

15 July 2015 - 12 August 2015
Service model for people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour: consultation on the draft scope

09 July 2015 - 06 August 2015
Sunlight exposure - risks and benefits: guideline consultation 2

26 June 2015 - 23 July 2015
Transcranial magnetic stimulation for severe depression: consultation

25 June 2015 - 06 August 2015
Transition between inpatient hospital settings and community or care home settings for adults with social care needs: draft guideline consultation

26 June 2015 - 24 July 2015
Type 2 diabetes: guideline consultation 2


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. In addition, our Helpline provides valuable signposting and information for patients and supports them as they navigate the Healthcare service.

Our Helpline

The Patients Association Helpline is here to help.

  0845 608 44 55.


This is a local rate number and if a phone provider charges, we are happy to return calls. The Helpline both informs patients and gathers their views.



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Patients Association's response to the Charges for missed appointments

Andrea Jenkyns, MP (L) with Katherine Murphy, Chief Execiutive of the Patients Association.
A new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Patient Safety has today (14 July 2015) been launched by the Patients Association, with new Conservative MP Andrea Jenkyns elected as Chair.

The new APPG will be focused on ensuring that patient safety remains at the heart of the Government’s agenda.  It will bring together interested Parliamentarians, members of the public and healthcare experts to address all issues affecting patients in the care sector. The issues will include, for example, access to hospital information, infection prevention, antimicrobial resistance and hand hygiene, avoidable adverse patient events, medication errors, safety alerts, and unsafe hospital discharge.

Andrea Jenkyns was elected to represent Morley and Outwood in 2015, replacing former Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls, and is now a member of the Health Select Committee.  With a background in charity fundraising, Andrea has been campaigning for better patient care for more than three years and is a Trustee for the charity MRSA Action UK. Through this role she works with schools, medical trusts and was involved in consultations with the Department of Health regarding raising standards, including the Patient-Led Inspections.  Andrea’s passion for making a difference in raising hospital standards was a result of the tragic death of her father from MRSA in 2011.

Labour MPs Rosie Cooper and Virendra Sharma, and the SNP’s Health Spokesperson in the House of Commons, Dr Philippa Whitford, were elected as Vice-Chairs of the Group with the Baroness Masham of Ilton appointed Secretary.  Rosie Cooper MP was Vice Chair of the Liverpool Health Authority between 1994 and 1996, before becoming Chair of Liverpool Women’s Hospital.  Virendra Sharma served on the health select committee from 2010-2015.  Philippa Whitford MP was elected in May 2015 and was a consultant breast surgeon at Crosshouse Hospital for more than 18 years.  Baroness Masham is an active member of the House of Lords and has a particular interest in health issues, as Chair of the Cross Party Health Group and Patient and Public Involvement in Health Group.

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, which will act as the APPG’s secretariat, said:

“Patient safety remains a priority for the Patients Association and we will continue our focus on keeping high quality effective care high on the NHS agenda as outlined by the Francis and Berwick Reports.  The APPG will hear from patients, relatives and carers as well as professionals, providers and commissioners of care. The Patients Association is keen to ensure that patients have access to appropriate services, access to the right treatment using available technology and access to safe, quality and compassionate care.”

Andrea Jenkyns, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Patient Safety, said:

“Patient safety is an issue I am particularly concerned with and one that resonates with every member of the public.  I am delighted to Chair the new APPG and look forward to addressing the real concerns of patients.  We have a real opportunity to improve patient care by reducing the rate of hospital-acquired infections, improving access to information about hospitals, and addressing global issues such as antimicrobial resistance.”

Katherine Murphy chairs panel at conference about listening to patients through PPGs.
We’d like to give a big thank you to all who attended, we hope to hold many more events such as this in the future.
Jeremy Hunt said in his speech at the King’s Fund that he is going to phase out the “Monday to Friday Culture”
The announcement this week by the Health Secretary is welcomed by the Patients Association. The proposal is to phase in a contract that will prevent senior doctors from ‘opting out’ of weekend work. The problem dates back to 2003 when the then government gave consultants the right to opt out of routine work at weekends while their overall payments roughly doubled. That has created a Monday to Friday culture in many parts of the NHS. 
An independent study published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in February 2015 showed death rates were higher for weekend admissions - compared with admission on a Wednesday they were 16% higher for Sunday and 11% for Saturday.
The correlation between weekend admission and death rates and the number of consultants still needs further investigation. In the meantime, patients need to be assured that care in hospitals is not dependent on the day of the week they are admitted.
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association said today:
“Patients should have easy access to 24 hour care 7 days a week. The NHS is a publicly funded service and should be built around the needs of patients. The Patients Association believes it is not for the doctors’ unions to decide how a public funded service should be run.
The NHS does not exist for the benefit of professionals.  Patients don’t pick and choose when they need to use it and doctors can’t pick and choose when they work in it.  The public need to have confidence that when they are in need of care it is easily accessible.  Why should we have a poorer service at weekends than during the rest of the week?
Patients need access to appropriate services, diagnostic services, x-rays and scanners but also need access to the most appropriate professionals.”

The NHS system as a whole is not performing well claims Lord Patel

Lords discuss options to maintain the sustainability of the National Health Service as a public service free at the point of need
A discussion in the House of Lords opened by Lord Patel has argued for a more durable, long-term solution that will keep the citizens of this nation healthy for as long as possible. Lord Patel has stated that this will require a new system where prevention, care and social care are a continuum; in which the individual, the community and the state have a commitment and a shared responsibility; where people with long-term conditions are able to manage their own illnesses; where individuals plan for their own health and are helped to plan for their social care if they need it; and which can adopt new ways of care and embrace innovation.
Lord Patel has advocated an integrated health and social care system to revolve around prevention, stating that prevention strategies could reduce mortality by 25% by 2025. Currently, the UK lags behind several countries in a substantial number of areas. These include preventable hospital admissions for chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma and lung disease.  We also have lower cancer survival and higher mortality rates from heart attacks and strokes, with 10% of people dying over the age of 45 after 30 days, compared with 8.2% in Norway and 8.4% in New Zealand.
One of the key participants in the discussion was Baroness Masham of Ilton, a key supporter and advocate for the Patients Association. She urges that patient safety must remain top of the agenda. She states that the NHS must be based around effective and honest communication which would not only improve patient care but will also help lessen litigation which costs the NHS far too much.
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association said today:
“The Patients Association welcomes this discussion. Although there are a variety of financial challenges that the Government has faced, we must maintain the overall aim of the NHS - to be a patient centred service. If we do fail in our responsibilities to the most vulnerable; if we approach those efficiency challenges separately; if we allow the pressure of budgets and political ideology to blind us to this perspective, then patients who require urgent care and those vulnerable in society will be the ones who will suffer the most.
Furthermore, from our recent All Party Parliamentary group on patient complaints, attended by various patients and Baroness Masham of Ilton, we heard how effective honesty, integrity and effective communication by staff within the NHS can be. This could bring about a substantial difference in patient care. This rhetoric must continue to be promoted if we are to produce an effective and improved patient centred health and social care system that benefits all patients in the long term.”

90% of all homes in England are not fully accessible for older people

A report by the think-tank, the Institute of Public Policy Research North, states that the current system for housing older residents is no longer workable in the long-term.

A report by the Institute of Public Policy Research North states that securing adequate housing with effective integrated support for people can relieve a huge amount of pressure on the NHS. However, at the moment, the housing offer is outdated and unappealing. This has led to a substantial amount of people choosing to remain in their own home instead of accessing more suitable living options. As a result this has placed a large amount of stress on individuals, their families and the health service.

The report, For Future Living, outlines the need for housing options that are suitable, affordable and integrated with health and social care services. The findings state that this will not only enable people to live independently for longer with access to integrated health and social care services in their homes and neighbourhoods, it will also place older people’s housing at the heart of neighbourhoods and create better links between those in need of additional support, health services and the wider community.

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association said today:

“The Government must provide assurances and adequate provisions so that money will be available for social care for the long term. Effective housing supported by an integrated health and social care service must be implemented if we are to enable older people to remain independent, healthy and out of hospital. The government must invest money urgently to protect patients now and for the long-term if we are to produce a patient centred health and social care system to meet the needs of an ageing patient population."
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