Involvement Forums, the new organisations that will allow communities
in England to have a say in the provision of local health services.
job of monitoring and reviewing health services from the patient's
perspective and will be encouraging and supporting others to get
involved in matters affecting health. PPIFs are independent of the
NHS and will be powerful local levers for change.
PPI Forums are the last part of the set of arrangements that support
and empower the public to be put in place. Patient advice and liaison
services are already in NHS trusts and PCTs. Independent support for
people wanting to complain about health services has been available
since September and since January local authorities have been using
their new powers to scrutinise health services from the perspective
of their local residents.
These new arrangements support the vision of a patient centred NHS -
providing patients and local communities with real opportunities to
become directly involved in decisions about their care and NHS
services and improving patients' experiences of health services.
The Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health (CPPIH),
set up by the government in January 2003, is responsible for
recruiting the forum volunteers. It sets and monitors standards for
PPIFs and ICAS, which will ensure consistency across the country and
is a key difference between the new arrangements and community health
Minister of state for health Rosie Winterton said:
'I'm delighted to welcome these new Patient and Public Involvement
Forums. From today, the public will have a real opportunity to voice
their opinions about local health services and will be able to get
involved in shaping them.
'The huge numbers of people who applied for places on forums - ov er
4,700 - show that the public really are interested in health and, more
importantly, want to have their say.
'Last week I met a group of forum members in Birmingham, who told me
how important they feel it is for the different needs of different
communities to be reflected. Because forums will set their own
agendas, issues important to local people will be top priority.
Influencing health services is no longer the prerogative of the
professionals or those used to getting their voices heard.
'I congratulate the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in
Health, who have worked so hard in recruiting and establishing
training programmes for the volunteers who will make up these Forums.
'I would also like to pay tribute to Community Health Council (CHC)
staff and members. CHCs are abolished today. But the work they have
done over the past 29 years has put in place some very strong
foundations for the new system and has greatly influenced the
arrangements we now have.'
Sharon Grant, chair of the Commission for Patient and Public
Involvement in Healthsaid:
'This is an exciting day for the commission as the new independent
forums begin their work on the ground. This marks the start of a new
era in public participation in health and we are confident that in
the backing and support of a strong national commission, forums will
make a real contribution to improving the nation's health.'
Functions that Patient and Public Involvement Forums have include:
1. encouraging others to get involved
2. finding out what people really think about health locally and take
3. to independently watch over the quality of local healthcare
4. shaping decisions which impact on health
5. to influence local and national decisions as part of a growing
network for public involvement
6. being a force for fairness and change
The CPPIH will:
1. be a powerful means of pressing for change on issues raised by
Patient and Public Involvement Forums
2. provide a voice for patients and the public on a national level
3. publish its evaluation of the system of patient and public
4. advise the secretary of state for health about major issues
arising through Patient and Public Involvement Forums;
5. report any issue of concern on patient safety and welfare that it
becomes aware of to bodies such as the Commission for Health Care
Audit and Inspection (CHAI) or the National Patients Safety Agency
6. oversee the delivery of Independent Complaints Advocacy Services
(ICAS) which offer independent support for NHS complainants.
ICAS is working to consistent national standards and performance
indicators and follows on logically from the establishment of PALS.
It can provide advocacy support through the formal complaints
procedure if PALS cannot resolve the issues informally.
Setting up ICAS was in response to the complaints consultation which
brought up the need for consistent independent advocacy for people
using the formal NHS complaints procedure.
The new system for patient and public involvement for England was set
out in the NHS Plan (July 2000). The NHS Plan is available at
More information about the new arrangements is available at
Further detail about becoming a member of a Patient and Public
Involvement Forum is available at www.cppih.org or
www.maketimeforhealth.org or by calling 0845 120 7115.