The National Rural Conference 2024

The Rural Services Network (RSN) is thrilled to announce the National Rural Conference 2024, taking place from 16th to 19th September. This virtual event, accessible via Zoom, is the premier gathering for senior officers, members, policymakers, and rural service professionals.
Further information and booking details can be found here

The Patients Association manifesto: Patients can’t wait

The Patients Association exists to ensure everybody can access and benefit from the health and care services they need to live well. Services must be designed and delivered through equal partnership with patients to achieve this objective. Mounting pressures in the NHS over recent years have put the relationship patients have with the services they need under huge strain.

The next Government must ensure more people can get the care they need and make patient partnership a reality across the NHS. Reversing the normalisation of the crisis the NHS is facing and rebuilding the relationship patients have with it must be addressed urgently.

The pressures the NHS is under that have affected patients’ care have guided the development of our general election manifesto. Our manifesto outlines key steps the next Government must take to ensure access to high quality care and introduce patient partnership throughout the NHS.

We want the next Government to:

  • Take patient partnership from theory to practice

The NHS Constitution set a benchmark for patient involvement in the health service. The need to capture and respond to their experience and their preferences was at its heart. Many subsequent documents and strategies have built on these principles. Too often they are not delivered, and we risk going backwards.

  • Make increasing the availability of quality care a national priority

We welcomed strategies that set out important first steps in supporting patients and the NHS after the pandemic. Strategies such as the elective care and primary recovery plans would work well in their entirety, but some commitments have already been scaled back. Millions of patients continue to wait for the care they need to live well, often with life threatening consequences. Others are left with no support at all.

  • Place health at the heart of government

The health and social care system cannot support patients by itself. Even the best care can only have so much impact if wider policies damage or fail to promote good health. Those who are most unwell, experience wider health inequalities, or social deprivation are at the greatest risk of poor health outcomes.

  • Deliver genuine two-way communication between patients and the NHS

Communication is an essential part of care. Chasing referrals, information not being shared between services, and not respecting communication needs is a huge frustration for patients. Failure to listen also means vital issues in the health and care system are missed.

  • Provide the workforce patients need

Patients can’t receive the care they need, or be equal partners in their treatment, if services are insufficiently staffed. Appropriate staffing is also fundamental to patient safety. We welcomed the NHS Workforce Plan as an important milestone, but the next government will need to go beyond it as new needs or gaps emerge.

Explore the Patients Association’s manifesto to discover the actions the next Government can take to make our vision of accessible care, designed and delivered in partnership with patients, a reality.

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