Patient Reference Group update: May 2021

Update from the Patient Reference Group newsletter from May 2021.

 Reminder to Complete and Share the Patient Safety Commissioner Consultation by 28 May

As you are all aware, the consultation on the role of the Patient Safety Commissioner for Scotland closes on 28 May, so we would once again encourage you to share the link amongst your networks, as well as completing a response yourselves, if you have not already done so.

As we mentioned during early PRG meetings, we have absolutely no pre-conceived ideas about what this role should do, or how it should do it – we are keen to be led by you, and other users of NHS services. With that in mind, the consultation responses will really help us to shape this role into something that will genuinely support patients to make their voices heard on patient safety issues, so your input at this stage is vital.

The consultation is avaialable online.

Next Steps for the Patient Reference Group

Those of you who were able to attend the joint workshops held in March – prior to the beginning of the pre-election period – will have heard that our longer-term plan is to form a single, larger group with membership including both patients and specialists. The membership of that group will largely be determined by what analysis of the consultation responses tells us about the scope of the role (i.e. whether the Patient Safety Commissioner will focus solely on medicines and medical devices, or will have a wider remit). As such, we don’t expect that group to be put in place until the consultation analysis is well underway, but we have begun to work on the Terms of Reference for that group, and to consider how people may be selected to be a part of it if it looks likely that the membership will need to be broadened.

We have had initial discussions with Charlie, Sharon and Marie – who are the PRG representatives on the SRG – to get their thoughts on how the new group might be set up and how it could best function. Marie also has first-hand experience of the PRG in England, which she co-chairs (further information on that is provided below). If anybody else has any particular views on how they think the new group should be set up or run, then please get in touch. We would be more than happy to meet with you to talk it through.

In the meantime, we propose to hold a final session with existing PRG members, and will be in touch with you soon about potential dates for this. We are still considering the agenda for this session (and if you have any particular thoughts on this then we would be pleased to hear them), but hearing your stories and views over the last few months has been extremely useful in helping us start to envisage what the PSC role might look like.

For those of you who could not attend, Nan and Lisa, as well as Dan and Bill from Haemophilia Scotland, gave very thought-provoking accounts of their experiences during the workshops in March. These stories, as well as the stories that other members of the group have kindly shared with us, have highlighted a number of possible themes that may be explored further in terms of the role of the PSC, and we would be keen to share and discuss these themes with you at the meeting to ensure that we have clearly understood what you have told us. This will then allow us to move onto the next stage – developing proposals for the PSC role – with confidence.

UK Consultation on Regulating Healthcare Professionals, Protecting the Public

You may wish to be aware that the UK Government are currently consulting on the regulation of healthcare professionals.

Regulating healthcare professionals is a reserved area, meaning that the Scottish Government does not have powers over it – these powers sit with Westminster. As such, the Scottish Patient Safety Commissioner will not have any powers over professional regulatory bodies (such as the General Medical Council or the Nursing and Midwifery Council, for instance).

From discussions at previous PRG meetings and joint workshops, we know that accountability of healthcare professionals is a key area of interest for many of you, and this UK Government consultation is therefore likely to be of interest, particularly as it covers areas such as the registration, training and fitness to practice of healthcare practitioners. We would therefore encourage you to consider responding to this consultation before the closing date of 16 June, to make your views on the proposed reforms in this area known.

The consultation is available online

England’s Approach to Cumberlege

As already eluded to, a PRG has been set up in England. The remits of the Scottish and English groups are quite different, with the English group covering all nine of the Cumberlege recommendations, whilst this group is focussed only on recommendation 2. Further information on the English PRG is available.

Thank You from the Chair

Donna has asked us to pass on her thanks for all of your help and support in getting us to this stage. We sincerely hope that the proposals we go on to develop will make a difference to future patients, so that there is no repeat of the experiences you have shared with us.

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