Update: Nhs England citizens assembly meeting

I just wanted to update you on Monday’s meeting with NHS England to talk about the national citizens assembly.

Going in, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was a big meeting – there were about 50 of us there, from civil servants to charities and organisations like ours.

From the start it seemed like NHS England hadn’t decided whether creating an assembly would be a good idea or not. They said they wanted to listen to what we had to say about it. As the day went on, there was less conversation about a citizens assembly, and more about how NHS England could talk to people, listen to what they say and act.

The fact that tens of thousands of 38 Degrees members contributed to the meeting by filling in a survey on what we should say made sure that NHS England wanted to hear from us. It shows what a powerful force we can be when large number of us speak up.

I went to the meeting with 38 Degrees member Ken Band who said:

I think many people with fears for the future of the NHS would be open to genuine attempts to lift the lid on the way the service is run but serious concerns remain about the NHS upheaval. This event didn’t address that.

What it did do was to add 38 Degrees members’ voices to the kind of discussion that are normally dominated by a cluster of think-tanks. The real test will be if 38 Degrees members are invited back to take it further.

So we’ll have to see what comes next. And until we know more, its hard for us to tell whether this process will lead to something worthwhile or not.

When we hear more from NHS England about how they plan to take forward the conversations we had, I’ll get back in touch to see what you think. In the meantime, it would be great to hear how you think NHS England could be more accountable to people. Please comment below or on Facebook!