Looking ahead to the publication of the new NHS white paper, Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said: “The acid test for the new white paper will be whether it provides for true patient partnership, in decisions about both individual patient care and the planning and delivery of NHS services.

“Although the broad thrust of the proposals developed by NHS England, towards greater integration, was very welcome, the lack of a clear role for patients was a major weakness, and we will need to see this rectified in order to be able to support the planned legislation.

“The NHS cannot successfully meet the many challenges it faces if it does not listen to patients and value what they tell it. We cannot return to traditional, paternalistic approaches of the NHS deciding and patients just having to accept it. The new proposals cannot succeed fully without true patient partnership.

“At times during the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen the NHS take decisions that work for it as an organisation, without taking patients’ needs into account. It has been less prone to this in the second wave, but the initial emergency response showed how patient involvement can be swept aside with alarming ease. This must not be allowed to become a permanent feature of the NHS.”

The Patients Association this week launched its new strategy for 2021-5, ‘True Patient Partnership’. It can be read here, with an article by Rachel explaining how it was developed.