Sir Nigel Crisp's revolution would provide for patients owning their own medical records, accessible through a confidential internet link
A five-point plan designed to revolutionise the NHS with patient power is unveiled by the Sunday People today.
Former NHS chief Nigel Crisp believes patients should decide how much GPs and hospitals are paid.
Lord Crisp, in charge from 2000-06, says patient representatives should sit at each level of management. They would organise patient satisfaction surveys on the performance of family surgeries and local hospitals.
Those performing well would get more money and those doing badly would be penalised by getting less.
Lord Crisp said: “Patients need to be on the top of the power pyramid, not at the bottom. They need to have teeth. What was shocking when you look at Mid Staffordshire was that they were not listened to.”
There is already a scheme in which hospitals get paid up to 2.5 per cent more for meeting 12 tests including patient satisfaction.
But Lord Crisp said: “This means patient satisfaction alone contributes very little to the overall reward.”
And such schemes are not widespread enough to make an overall difference.
He added: “If we are really serious about patients’ views there should be larger sums involved. That will really make hospitals and GP practices sit up and take notice. There should also be penalties for poor performance.”
Lord Crisp’s revolution would provide for patients owning their own medical records, accessible through a confidential internet link.
Currently they have to go through a cumbersome bureaucratic process.
If patients owned their records they could see whether they received the right treatment, even years later.
And they could use their records to seek a second opinion.
Lord Crisp added: “Patients should be able to see what their doctors have to say about them.”
Hospital doctors must stop thinking of patients as inmates but see themselves as guests in patients’ lives.
He added: “Only when professionals are all thinking like this will you know there is real change.”
Staff must listen and learn, by former NHS chief Lord Crisp
In my time as Chief Executive of the NHS we gave priority to reducing waiting times and tackling infections such as MRSA.
It needed doing and I am proud of what we achieved. Now, however, as I read about what has happened in some hospitals, I am appalled that we weren’t able to prevent these awful things from happening.
It is desperately sad that patients have not been listened to.
As a result I feel very strongly that we now have to change the balance of power in the NHS.
We all know what it is like to feel powerless as patients when we are dealing with busy doctors and nurses who know so much more than we do.
But we still need to be listened to and to be able to ask all the questions we want.
Giving patients more power must become the new top priority for the NHS.
We must use all the methods we used so successfully in reducing waiting times and infections like so-called superbugs.
We need to be absolutely clear about what we are trying to do and change systems and behaviours to achieve it.
I know from the hundreds of visits I made to hospitals when I was the Chief Executive just how good the NHS can be.
I was constantly impressed by the skills, passion and commitment of staff and I know how much patients appreciated them. However, these high standards are not always in place. I believe that only patients, who of course are there all the time, can really keep the service up to the mark all the time.
They can only do so if they are listened to.
I am delighted that the new Inspector of hospitals, Sir Mike Richards, will have patients as part of all his inspection teams.
But I believe we need to do even more.
That is why I suggest how this can be done in my five ways to give patients power.
As Professor Don Berwick, the US health expert who led the review into patient safety after the Mid Staffordshire crisis, has said, professionals “are guests in their patients’ lives.”