Patient Focus and Public Involvement

The Scottish Health Council supports and monitors the way NHS Boards carry out their Patient Focus and Public Involvement (PFPI) responsibilities. These responsibilities are contained within Scottish Government policy, guidance and legislation.

Patient Focus

A "patient-focused" NHS exists for the patient and is designed to meet the needs and wishes of the individual receiving care and treatment. It should therefore:

  • Maintain good communications, including listening and talking to patients, public and communities
  • Know about those using the service and understand their needs
  • Keep users of the service informed and involved
  • Have clear, explicit standards of service
  • Maintain politeness and mutual respect
  • Have the ability to respond flexibly to an individual's specific needs
  • Ensure effective action is taken to improve services
  • Talk with service users, the wider public and communities.

Public Involvement

Involving patients, carers and the public is a very important part of improving the quality of service provided by NHSScotland. Effective public involvement can:

  • Act as a catalyst for change
  • Help achieve a major improvement in the health of the public
  • Help strengthen public confidence in the NHS.

Each NHS Board has a Designated Director with responsibility for public involvement. Whilst this lead responsibility is important there is a need to ensure that public involvement is promoted by the whole organisation.

NHS Boards are expected to take a pro-active and positive approach to public involvement on issues of potential service change. This is an important area of active ongoing public involvement and one where effective communication is essential.

Involving the public should not be seen as something that has to be done at the end of a process, but something that is part of an integrated process of communication and discussion; where communities, patients, public and NHS staff have opportunities to influence decision making. An inclusive process must be able to demonstrate that the NHS listens, is supportive and takes account of views and suggestions.

Page opens in a new windowContact your NHS Board to find out how you can become involved in influencing the development of your local health services, for example, by becoming a Public Partnership Forum member.