'Voice or choice’? Patient and public involvement n the National Health Service in England under New Labour’

Jonathan Gabe, R. Forster

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    Involving patients, caregivers, and citizens in health care and health policy has been recommended by international organizations for over a decade. This article focuses on developments in England under New Labour, places them in the context of broader health policy, and assesses them in the light of the limited empirical evidence. The authors consider a range of possible explanations for these developments. They suggest that we need to distinguish between individual and collective forms of patient involvement, and they chart patient and public involvement in England before New Labour and in three distinct phases under New Labour. There has been a significant extension of opportunities for individual patients and the public to communicate their views, albeit with twists and turns in the policy over time. The authors explain these developments in terms of New Labour's ideological attachment to pragmatism and the Third Way, political calculations about the need to reinvigorate political culture, and attempts to enhance cost-effectiveness. Patient and public involvement seems to be here to stay, but whether this will result in greater equity and a real shift in power away from professionals to citizens and patients is another matter.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)333-356
    Number of pages23
    JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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