NHS must enlist the help of patients in redesigning the service

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 26 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e4381
  1. Caroline White
  1. 1Manchester

The NHS must recruit patients to “work” for it, in the same way that banks and other commercial bodies capitalise on consumers’ free labour, if it is to redesign services effectively and save much needed cash, experts have claimed.

The concept, known as “co-production” or “privatising citizens’ labour,” entails devolving some element of care to patients, and maximising their expertise and experience.

At a panel discussion at the NHS Confederation annual conference in Manchester last week, Rob Webster, chief executive of Leeds Community Health NHS Trust, explained that there was “no alternative” to service redesign.

Without it, the current system would be unsustainable within five years and unable to meet the needs of the people who use it, he said. …

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