Thoughts on consultation practices in the NHS

Here at Delib we are intensely interested in the way others are consulting their stakeholders, nothing makes us happier then those practising digital democracy well.

I have recently been working with the NHS to assist with the grand ideal which is Digital Democracy, and came across various methods which are used. I thought this may interest others involved in social media and online consultations so thought I would share my findings with you all.

Many of the health organisations I have spoken to are using methods of engagement which take place in the community; Forum Groups are a good example of this. These are a wonderful ideas but in practice this does alienate those who are unable to physically attend.

I have also seen online membership bodies used, which allow a more relaxed approach to patient participation. Once again there is a problem where potential users are forced to sign up and apply to join. In practice this enables demographics of the population to be monitored by the organisers, but can be intimidating for those of us who wish to be active in having their say without attention being drawn to them.

Doctors surgeries have recently ‘upped the ante’ with Patient Participation Groups trying to engage with their patients through new methods. Many are done through emails, however coffee mornings are rather popular too. Rotherham NHS have been letting the CCG’s in their areas use their consultation hub. They found that this solved the problem of patients not being able to attend meetings and widening the scope of participation by allowing them to register their opinions remotely.

These are just a few of the ways we’ve seen health organisations engaging their residents and the problems they have faced along the way. We constantly take these learnings on board trying to ensure all our apps help to remedy as many of these problems as possible by allowing a wider pool of stakeholders to be engaged.

If you would like to see how Citizen Space or Dialogue App can help your organisation please contact us, and we’ll try to help!

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