Skip to the content

Get involved

There are a range of ways you can make your voice heard in the NHS. Whether this is taking part in a consultation, complaining about treatment you’ve received or getting involved in how decisions are made about a new service.

You can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) if you want to talk through any issue about healthcare on 01502 719567 or to complain you can talk to the complaints manager through the same number.

There are other ways you can make your voice heard. These could be through answering a questionnaire as part of a public consultation, joining Healthwatch or asking for information through the Freedom of Information request. You can find out more about each on the links to the left.

Differences between engagement and consultation

What is engagement?
Engagement describes the continuing and on-going process of developing relationships and partnerships so that the voice of local people and partners is heard and that our plans are shared at the earliest possible stages.

It also describes activity that happens early on in an involvement process, including holding extensive discussions with a wide range of people to develop a robust case for change.

What is a ‘formal consultation’?
‘Formal consultation’ describes the statutory requirement imposed on NHS bodies to consult with overview and scrutiny committees (OSCs), patients, the public and stakeholders when considering a proposal for a substantial development of the health service, or for a substantial variation in the provision of a service.

Formal consultation is carried out if a change is ‘significant’. This is determined where the proposal or plan is likely to have a substantial impact on one or more of the following:

  • Access (eg. reduction or increase in service due to change of location or opening times)
  • Wider community (eg. economic impact, transport, regeneration)
  • Patients or users (either current or future)
  • Service delivery (eg. methods of delivery or relocation of services)
  • The outcome of a formal consultation must be reported to the Governing Body in public, together with the feedback received, and must show how this has been taken into account in any recommendations and decision making.