Department of Health publishes further consultation on proposals to secure shared decision making

The Department of Health (DH) has published a further consultation document on shared decision-making titled 'Liberating the NHS: No decision about me without me'.

> Download the consultation document (23 May 2012).

Now is the time therefore to provide feedback on this policy - assuming the reader can find the time (and motivation) to do so before the deadline of 20 July 2012.  Obviously in these somewhat turbulent times providing feedback may not be of the highest priority in the plethora of tasks to do! 

I wonder how many readers may share some skepticism about this document? The aims as so often is the case are undoubtedly very laudable but one struggles to determine precisely what this 'right' for patients actually amounts to in practice.  

The DH proposes a model of shared decision-making all along the patient pathway including a choice of provider for the more common diagnostic tests as well as more choices in their primary care at referral and in their after diagnosis care. 

The DH's suggestions for the implementation of these proposals include: 

  • The patient's right to choice and information in the NHS constitution to be extended over time;
  • The use of regulations which would introduce a set of legal requirements for the NHS Commissioning Board and CCGs to follow;
  • Local  HealthWatch Organisations to advise new CCGs on the shape of local services to ensure they are informed by views of the community;
  • The DH to publish a 'Choice Mandate' to clarify expectations and help the NHS  Commissioning Board to develop specific plans for giving patients greater choice;
  • Use of the standard contract to place requirements on Providers in respect of choice; and
  • Maximising the use of the Choose & Book system so more referrals are made through it.
Perhaps therefore a little patience is needed to see how this 'right' will impact upon CCG commissioning duties.  Only time will tell so watch this space. 

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