Behavioural change has been too low on NHS priority list

Changing public behaviour has failed to become an NHS priority because no one faces the threat of being sacked for failing to engage patients, the NHS Confederation has argued.

Mr Farrar: 'The system has to be orientated to make it easier to do the right thing.’
Mr Farrar: 'The system has to be orientated to make it easier to do the right thing.’

Talking at an All Party Parliamentary Group for Primary Care and Public Health event on the NHS reforms, the confederation's chief executive Mike Farrar said the success of the NHS would depend on both system and behavioural change.

He said: 'I would have never been sacked in my career for failing to empower patients. [A chair of a CCG] would not be sacked for failing to empower patients. But he will be sacked if he doesn’t manage the finances or getting the waiting times down.

‘That’s why the system has to be orientated to make it easier to do the right thing.’

Mr Farrar said the NHS would have to work to engage patients in a ‘very different way’ about their own use of resource and healthcare. This could not be achieved with ‘good leaflets’, he said.

He added that politicians must also change their behaviour and have the ‘bravery to describe the resource challenge and say why we have got to do things differently’.  He said clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) would have a ‘much better opportunity to engage patients’.

‘The Outcomes Framework has a large number of metrics that relate to patient experience,' he said. 'It is a really good step forward.'

‘Patient outcomes are a product of good clinical care and great patient engagement. I hope we can give CCGs the metrics to try and tackle that.’

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