The NHS is a core part of Britain’s national identity. It dominates debates at general elections and serves as a symbol of our collective commitment to health and care. But our daily experiences of the NHS are hyper-local – tied to the community GP surgery, or neighbourhood pharmacy, or the carers that visit our homes.
Today, many of these daily experiences are falling short of expectations. Ambulance waiting times are soaring, COVID backlogs are driving delays, and in-person GP appointments are increasingly hard to come by. And this current tranche of challenges are layered onto broader long-term barriers to a secure healthcare system.
Questions remain about how we can make sure people across Britain get the care they need, when they need it, in a way that is sustainable for the public purse. For some, the solutions lie in the experiences and ideas of the public, rather than Whitehall, and in surfacing local experiences to address national challenges.
This event will be a chance to reflect on how we can best utilise people’s experiences of the NHS to inform future changes to the system. What role should be played by experts by experience? What mechanisms show real promise in elevating the voice of patients? And what have engagements with the public to date told us about their ambitions for our health and care system?
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