BMA Q and A: priorities of the patients' voice
24 January 2013
What are the BMA patient liaison group’s priorities for the year?
The PLG’s role is to provide the BMA with an informed patient view on matters of interest to the profession and to patients. This means we will be continuing to feed in the patient perspective on issues such as implementing the Health and Social Care Act, revalidation and pension changes. Other work areas we will take forward include:
- Examining timely hospital discharge
- How the sharing of patient information is evolving within the NHS and will be used in commissioning
- Working with the BMA’s medical ethics committee on issues such as organ donation and end-of-life care pathways.
There are moves to develop the culture of compassionate care in the NHS. What are the PLG's views on this?
The PLG supports an NHS that delivers high-quality, compassionate care, and achieves excellent health and well-being outcomes. All healthcare professionals should understand what a ‘culture of compassionate care’ means in practice.
Patients who are treated by compassionate care-givers tend to share more information about their symptoms and concerns, which yields more accurate understanding and diagnoses. Care, compassion and respect have always been enshrined in the value statements of the health professions.
The PLG, however, believes there is a need for better understanding of what compassionate care is, what prevents it, and what promotes it.
What does the PLG think about the new ‘friends and family’ test for NHS services, whereby patients will be asked if they would recommend wards or emergency departments to friends or relatives?
Feedback is important, but there is the question of whether friends and family are objective judges of the NHS in all its complexity. The PLG has concerns about whether the test would be suitable for detecting substandard services, although we believe that patients can offer valuable feedback in terms of characteristics of general care such as kindness, cheerfulness, attentiveness and cleanliness. The PLG would like to see a full evaluation of the test.
The Commons health select committee has said the role and duties of the CQC (Care Quality Commission) are not sufficiently clear. Do patients have a clear understanding of the CQC and of who is responsible for quality and safety?
There is a need for clear communication on the role and duties of the CQC. Raising awareness of them and of the CQC’s independence in complaint handling will help to improve relationships with the public.