The Big Question

Who’s best at listening to service users: social care or the NHS?

Kierra Box – Young people’s activist
Social care might get it wrong at times, but the NHS is so busy attempting to fulfil unrealistic targets and manage bureaucracy that it shows little willingness to tailor resources. If only someone would realise that service users’ opinions are vital and easily collected, then we could move towards more responsive and innovative services.

Angie Lawrence – Single mother
There are two main problems with the way that both social care and the NHS listen to the public. They tend to consult with “current” service users rather than the general public, who have a wider interest in safeguarding and improving health and social care. And they allow their decision-making to be dictated by short-term plans of politicians.

Len Smith – Gypsy activist
I’ve found hospitals to be very patchy when it comes to listening. Some also seem unwilling to explain medication or treatment, expecting users to accept what they are given without question. Social care, though seemingly more difficult to access, at least gives the impression of being better listeners within the constraints of their particular office.

Karen Shook – Disability equality adviser
I support partnership working between service users and the local NHS and social services. It can help gather service users’ views and needs, particularly if the consultations are offered in an accessible way. But all this depends on the NHS and social care having a dialogue over who is responsible for services.

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