Examination of Witness

Part of Health and Care Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 9th September 2021.

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Sir Robert Francis:

Clearly, patient choice and view include information about people’s experience of the service they have had, where they think the gaps are, and their needs. The less you have a competitive exercise with different organisations coming in and saying, “We can provide this better than X or Y,” the more you need to know what people think about what you are proposing, or indeed the more you need to know to inspire creative thought about how you meet the needs that people are telling you they have.

Our view is that while we actually welcome the removal of the requirement for tendering and all the bureaucracy that, quite often in our healthwatches’ experience, interferes with and delays getting solutions to things, that should not mean that we do not have a concentrated effort to involve patient services and the public in the design of what they are being provided with. In effect, that would include how you commission the service that they are going to be provided with. You then need a constant flow of information and dialogue about whether that is working. Frankly, I do not see a great deal of clarity in the Bill about how performance will be monitored after having commissioned services and worked out your strategy and so on.