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About the NHS

Get involved in the NHS

All NHS bodies have a legal duty to involve and consult the public about the running of local health services. Patients should be listened to and actions taken to meet their concerns.

There are many ways you can get involved to influence and improve health and social care services in your area, such as: 

Healthwatch England

Healthwatch England is the national consumer champion for people who use health and social care services. Its purpose is to ensure that the voices of people who use services are listened and responded to.

Local Healthwatch across England provides unique insight into people’s experiences with health services and social care services; they are the eyes and ears on the ground telling us what matters to their local communities.

Speak to your local Healthwatch to share your views on local health and social care services, and to find out about local events and volunteering opportunities.

Get involved with your local Clinical Commissioning Group

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) commission most of the hospital and community NHS services in the local areas for which they are responsible. Many local CCGs have public engagement and involvement activities that you can participate in. Activities range from providing simple feedback via questionnaires, to consultations and public events held by your CCG. Some CCGs have patient groups you can get involved with or they link up activities with local Healthwatch groups. You can find details about how to get involved with your CCG on their website. Alternatively, you can contact your local CCG directly.

Patient involvement NHS England

NHS England is responsible for purchasing primary care services (GPs, dentists, pharmacists and optometrists) and some specialised services. If you want to provide help or feedback to improve primary care services, you should get in touch with NHS England. More details about patient involvement can be found on NHS England’s website.

Volunteer

Many NHS organisations and charities need help from volunteers. This is a great way to get involved in the community. There are volunteer centres across the country, and many NHS trusts have volunteer managers you can contact if you want to find out about volunteer opportunities in your area.

If you're still unsure, read our volunteer guide, which includes stories from current volunteers.

Provide feedback when invited

There are many times you will be offered to provide feedback about care you or a loved one has received. Use this opportunity to improve NHS services. Examples include:

  • NHS friends and family test (FFT)  the feedback tool asks patients whether they would recommend an NHS service to family or friends based on their experience with that service. The feedback is important, as it will help NHS England to improve services for everyone.
  • PROMS  NHS patients having hip or knee replacements, varicose vein surgery, or groin hernia surgery are being invited to fill in PROMs questionnaires. PROMs stands for Patient Reported Outcome Measures. As with the FFT, your feedback is used to measure and improve the quality of NHS care.

NHS Change Day

NHS Change Day is a grassroots movement powered by people who care about the NHS. It started two years ago, with the aim to inspire people to take action. Anyone is invited to get involved: staff, patients and the public. Find out about Change Day, how you can get involved and see what others have done so far.

INVOLVE  Get involved in research

INVOLVE is funded by the National Institute for Health and Research to support public involvement in the NHS, public health and social care research. INVOLVE defines public involvement in research as research being carried out "with" or "by" members of the public, rather than "to", "about" or "for" them. This includes, for example, working with research funders to prioritise research, offering advice as members of a project steering group, commenting on and developing research materials, and undertaking interviews with research participants. 

Find out more on the INVOLVE website.

NHS Involvement  Patient and Public Participation programme Midlands and Lancashire

If you live in the Midlands and Lancashire region, you may wish to get involved in the Patient and Public Participation (PPP) programme, which has been commissioned by NHS England as a pioneer engagement project. You can find out how the programme works on NHS Involvement’s website.

Comments

The 2 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Editor NHS Choices said on 18 June 2014

Dear sShaq
Once you registered with a GP you are on the NHS system. However, you don't have to register with a dentist. Just make an appointment with a dentist that accepts NHS patients. You can find dentist using the find services search on NHS Choices http://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Dentist/LocationSearch/3

More about registering with a GP http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/AboutNHSservices/doctors/Pages/NHSGPs.aspx

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sShaq said on 15 June 2014

I recently moved to uk as a spouse of a british national.i want to know how i can become an nhs patient because i need to see a dentisit asap and i cant afford a high cost.please guide me.

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Page last reviewed: 14/04/2015

Next review due: 14/04/2017

About Healthwatch

Find out about this statutory watchdog, whose role is to ensure that health and social care services put people at the heart of their care

CCG outcomes

Clinical Commissioning Groups play a major role in achieving good health outcomes for the communities they serve. Find out how well your local CCG performs

NHS Friends and Family Test

Give your feedback on the quality of the NHS care you've received

Volunteering

Find out how to volunteer, why volunteering can benefit your health, and read stories of people who volunteer