NHS Providers' response to NHS England's consultation on the design of the NHS Assembly
NHS Providers welcomes the establishment of the NHS Assembly, as an opportunity to re-establish stakeholder engagement and consultation as a fundamental pillar of policy development. Key points to our response to NHS England’s invitation to provide feedback on the design of the assembly include:
- The Assembly has the potential to facilitate the engagement and collaboration needed to deliver the NHS ten year plan, and could support the national bodies in communicating their messages and the future direction of the NHS to the public and wider health and care sector.
- The Assembly should also play an important role beyond the scope of the 10 year plan, and provide a forum for meaningful engagement with policy decisions on an ongoing basis, and should be used as a vehicle for co-production with a small group of experts likely to be responsible for the implementation of national policy.
- A number of previous engagement models that could be used to inform the design of the Assembly include the CQC’s engagement process on developing its initial inspection model and 2016-2021 strategy, as well as Lord Darzi’s review underpinning ‘High Quality Care for All’ – models that had a clear stated purpose and structure and provided an effective means of engaging with stakeholders.
- While the Assembly is a welcome development and will bring together diverse stakeholders and organisations to discuss the delivery of changes which affect them, there will continue to be a need for a separate forum through which trusts can work with the arm’s-length bodies to co-produce a realistic plan for the NHS.
- It will be important that the Assembly is afforded sufficient influence to provide the insight and debate that is needed, and our hope is that it will constitute an environment for influence and change. We are keen to contribute to the work of the Assembly.
- In summary, we are enthusiastic about the NHS Assembly and see its introduction as a positive move to reinstate the core principle of engagement within the national policy making process, but the Assembly cannot and should not be a replacement for a genuine commitment to wide-ranging, informed engagement at depth with all sectors across the NHS as well as with patients and the public.