Rethink: NHS Future Forum report: a real step forward for patient power

Rethink Mental Illness says the Future Forum report represents a real step forward for patient power in the new NHS – ministers now need to listen and launch a final push to cement patient power in the plans.

Amid political point-scoring over the proposals, Rethink says the real winner from the listening exercise could be patients.

Paul Jenkins, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness, which is leading a coalition of 11 health charities (1) campaigning together on NHS reform, says the report addresses many of the major concerns of health charities and the patients they represent:

“Ministers are to be congratulated for launching the ‘listening exercise’. Now they need to show that they have taken what they’ve heard on board.

“Over the last two months, we have brought hundreds of patients face-to-face with ministers and the resulting Future Forum report reflects many of the key issues raised by Rethink Mental Illness on behalf of the millions of patients we and our charity coalition partners represent.

“Many of the leading health charities have taken the opportunity of the listening exercise to voice their concerns about NHS reform – so we are delighted that some of those concerns have been listened to and turned into recommendations.

“In particular, we welcome the idea that patient involvement should be ‘hardwired’ into the system at every level – meaning patients will be given more of a say over their own care and treatment. This is an issue we have been campaigning on for many years and represents real success for our coalition of health charities.

“There are some areas where we would like to see further changes. For instance, we want patient groups to have more of a say over how the services they use are designed. We also want to ensure the new Healthwatch bodies described in the Bill are able to effectively carry out their role as a voice for patients.”

ENDS

For more information please contact Rachel Whitehead, Senior Media Relations Officer for Rethink Mental Illness on 2027 840 3138

1. The charities are: Rethink Mental Illness, Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Asthma UK, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Diabetes UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, National Voices, The British Heart Foundation, The Stroke Association and The Neurological Alliance.

Notes to editors

Rethink, the leading national mental health membership charity, works to help everyone affected by severe mental illness recover a better quality of life.

We help over 52,000 people each year through our services and support groups and by providing information on mental health problems. Our website www.rethink.org receives over 500,000 visitors every year.

Rachel Whitehead
Senior Media Relations Officer
020 7840 3138