Engaging with NHS reforms

imagesPresented by Daniel Singleton, Director, FaithAction

Daniel Singleton spoke about FaithAction and its stakeholders as predominantly Christians whose faith called them to action. He spoke briefly of the trends in Health Service reform. There are two opportunities which arise from engaging with the new structures:

  • The opportunity to advocate and shape policy and service provision
  • The opportunity to provide services

The key points from the discussion were:

Having the confidence to engage with NHS is an issue for faith groups

  • Knowledge of the issues and mechanisms and how to get engagement is a major obstacle. “Acronyms and Awareness” as one participant put it
  • Get connections with local politicians, that’s the best way to engage with health and wellbeing boards if you can’t connect through officers
  • What South Africa has learned is that the Faith Sector must advocate strongly to be at the national table as well as the local table
  • Work through and use your local Healthwatch they are there to help you. NHS England are calling for faith groups to be on the reference groups for Healthwatch locally and nationally
  • Public Engagement (engaging patients, users, public) and Third Sector Engagement (engaging third sector agencies) are not the same thing, and statutory sector often thinks they are

Language and Identity is important to us, but there are presentational issues

  • How do you keep your faith but work in the secular sphere? (Participants posed the question, not sure of answers)
  • A good tip is to talk about services to the public, not Public Service delivery as if we were an emanation of the state
  • Do we really need the “Jesus” word in our services, plans and language or are we doing it just to make us/the service feel worthy?
  • Express our faith in the everyday and how we do it, as part of our identity and what we are
  • Be known for what we will do, not for what we won’t
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