This week in the Patients Association Weekly News:
  • The Patients Association needs you
  • Have your say - we're listening
  • Food in hospital and From hospital to care surveys
  • Invitation to attend at lecture in London
  • News from the helpline team
The Patients Association needs you!
Please join our valued team of members - it's free!

Did you know that receiving Weekly News doesn’t necessarily mean you are a full member of the Patients Association?* One of our goals for 2020 is to massively increase our membership numbers and we’d love it if you would consider joining us.

Why become a member?

Our members make us what we are and provide us with the vital information and patient feedback we need to develop our work.

Membership brings key additional benefits. As well as receiving Weekly News and taking part in our surveys, you will be sent a quarterly newsletter, by post or email. You will also be able to attend our AGM and, crucially, vote on appointments to our Board and Trustees.

Our membership is free because we want as many people as possible to join.­ The more people we hear from, the more powerful our work is and the louder our voice.

Join today – it only takes a minute

All the details of our membership and how to join are available on our website, please do take a look. 

Membership details and application form

Spread the word!

If you are already a member then maybe you could help us spread the word. Have you got any colleagues, friends or family who you think might be interested in becoming a member? If so, then please share the link to the membership details and application form.

Thank you – together we can grow our team as far and wide as possible! 

*If you are unsure whether you are a member, please email us at and we can quickly check for you. 

Have your say - we're listening 

As we have said many times, our surveys are an essential part of the work we do at the Patients Association and your participation is invaluable. Last week we closed the Patient Experience survey and we would like to thank everyone who took part. The results are being collated and assessed and we will be reporting back our findings and priority actions soon.  

We still have two other live surveys, both of which are due to close in a couple of weeks, so please do take some time out to give us your feedback if you haven’t already done so.

Thank you.

Food in hospitals

Food is an important part of life – bringing people together and keeping us nourished and healthy – and everyone has a food-related story to tell.

We need to hear about your experiences of food in hospitals – did you get a choice of food? How did it taste? If you needed assistance with eating, was there someone who could help you?

The NHS Hospital Food Review was launched in 2019, and we were asked to collect your opinions and experiences of hospital catering to feed into this work. If you have been in hospital in the past six months, please take a moment to complete this survey. It won’t take more than five minutes and will help inform the work of the NHS Hospital Review Panel ahead of the publication of their review later this year.

Take the survey
From hospital into care

Discharging your loved ones from hospital and into care can be a very difficult time and we want to find out just how stressful the impact is on family and close friends.

We've teamed up with ZPB Associates to collate your experiences, whether good or bad, so if you do have any information to share please take a couple of minutes to fill out this quick survey.

Take the survey

Annual Health Services Research Lecture

We’re delighted to be able to share an invitation to attend a lecture from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) on ‘Advancing the science of patient care to promote careful and kind care’.

The Speaker is Victor Montori, an internationally renowned health services researcher and expert in evidence-based medicine and shared decision making. In his lecture he will explore how we can respond to the challenges that the industrialisation of health services presents to providing compassionate care.

If you live in or around London you may wish to attend as the lecture is at being held at the John Snow Lecture Theatre, LSHTM, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT. It’s on Tuesday 10th March 2020 at 5.30pm. If you would like to know more, please contact

The event is free of charge and open to everyone with no booking or registration required.

News from our helpline

Our helpline team have recently received quite a few calls from patients concerned about having to answer a series of questions from receptionists before being allowed to make an appointment with their GP.

This happened to Sandra* who was upset by the experience and called us asking if this was allowed, and could she do anything about it.

We advised Sandra that this is now quite common as it helps the GP practice make sure their patients are given appointments with the best doctor, nurse or specialist for their particular care and treatment needs.
However, like Sandra not everyone feels comfortable sharing details of their health issues with anyone other than a medical professional. We told her that she was perfectly within her rights to ask the receptionist why she was being asked for the information at that stage. We also suggested she contacted the practice manager to ask what the practice policy was regarding booking appointments, and if the receptionists concerned had received any training.
If she did not get a satisfactory response, we then advised Sandra to share her experience with her Patient Participation Group and the Care Quality Commission.
Finally, we suggested Sandra checks whether her practice has an online appointment booking system which would avoid any contact with the receptionist.
*Name changed for privacy

Contact our helpline
What our team is reading this week
England’s poorest get worse NHS care than wealthiest citizens
East Kent hospitals: Baby deaths could have been prevented
China’s mystery coronavirus: everything you need to know from symptoms to treatment
Long NHS waits help drive patients to pay for private surgery
Child mental health crisis escalating due to climate change

About Us

Our vision is that health and social care will be delivered in a way that meets every person’s health and social care needs.

Our mission is to give effect to the patient voice, to improve patient experience and support people to engage fully in their own care. Find out more about our values on our website

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The Patients Association is a registered charity in England and Wales (1006733).  A company limited by guarantee.  Registered company in England and Wales (02620761)
Registered address:  P Block, Northwick Park Hospital, The North West Hospitals NHS Trust, Watford Road, Harrow, Middlesex, HA1 3YJ

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