7 June 2012

NHS Alliance Calls on the Government to Act on its Commitment to Shared Decision-Making

Following the publication of the consultation paper Liberating the NHS: No decision about me, without me, the NHS Alliance is calling on the government to show real commitment to shared decision-making.

The NHS Alliance’s Patient and Public Involvement Group is clear that, instead of exploring shared decision-making, the consultation paper focuses almost exclusively on mechanisms to ensure patients’ choice of providers, a relevant but small part of the process.

Dr Brian Fisher, co-lead of Patient and Public Involvement Group, NHS Alliance, said: “Shared decision-making is a process that brings clinicians and patients together to select tests, treatments, management or support packages, based on clinical evidence and patients’ informed preferences. It improves outcomes and lowers health service costs.

”Ignoring this vital intimate work in the patient consultation threatens to exclude shared decision-making from NHS focus. This is bad for patients, clinicians, or the NHS.”

To ensure that shared decision-making is taken seriously, the NHS Alliance has put forward the following suggestions to the government:

  1. That the current consultation paper either be withdrawn or renamed, as it does not fulfil its shared decision-making remit;
  2. That the section on Shared Decision-Making is given the same weight and focus as provider choice;
  3. That another consultation paper be written that does, indeed, focus on shared decision-making as defined above. It could explore evidence, good practice and ways of making it real for Clinical Commissioning Groups and local offices, so that they feel engaged by the concept and the supporting evidence.

Dr Fisher added: “The UK does poorly in this area. However, progress has been made in the field of patient and public involvement through the Act. It would be a shame to prejudice that improvement. The NHS Alliance’s PPI Group would be happy to support this agenda going forward.”


  1. The consultation paper Liberating the NHS: No decision about me, without me was published on 23rd of May and the consultation is open until the 20th of July 2012.
  2. NHS Alliance brings together Clinical Commissioning Leaders, PCTs, clinicians and managers as the leading organisation in primary care. Our leaders are all dedicated professionals, who represent the Alliance’s diverse membership, working ceaselessly to meet the challenges facing the NHS today. Find out more at www.nhsalliance.org
  3. For more information, please email pressoffice@nhsalliance.org or call 07772756674.