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Delivering Patient-centred Care: a perioperative care green paper

Lawrence Mudford

Have you ever wondered how healthcare policy is developed, and more importantly, just how you can invest your time, experience and insight into shaping change? That was my challenge as I started my new role as a patient representative, 18 months ago for the Centre for Perioperative Care (CPOC).

  • Person-centred care

The Centre for Perioperative Care is passionate about improving the quality of a patient’s journey from the moment surgery is contemplated, through the winding labyrinth of tests and hospital departments, right through to a full recovery.

If that resonates, I would love to invite you to join with me as part of an exciting Green Paper consultation which will stimulate discussion and provide a new platform for collaboration between patients, service users and their families and healthcare professionals.

The Centre is embarking on a nine-month programme of consultation and research aimed at addressing the short-term challenges and long-term opportunities facing the perioperative care agenda.

What is Perioperative Care?

As its name suggests, perioperative care is a patient-centred care pathway that follows the patient from initial investigation, right through their treatment options and contacts with nurses and clinicians, to full recovery. It brings together the best practices to support a patient’s care, which may include shared decision-making; preoperative assessment; help to get ready for surgery through exercise, nutrition, and smoking cessation; discharge planning; multidisciplinary working and follow-up after surgery.

But isn’t that what happens in all hospitals already?

Many hospitals already have comprehensive perioperative procedures, however, a number of national audits and recent research recognises that this is not a universal process. Fortunately, there are many examples of best practice already in existence, and the Green Paper will encourage discussion and collaboration, especially from patient organisations, to make sure that examples of best practice, as well as new initiatives, can happen in all areas of healthcare.

Why would more consultation make a difference?

We have all seen multiple versions of reorganisation within healthcare in recent decades! This Green Paper comes at a unique time, when the discussions following the Government’s Long Term Plan are being supplemented by the recent announcement from Matt Hancock on the urgent need to see NHS reform in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And at the heart of these proposed changes are a recognition that integration, removing siloed working, and focusing much more on the patient are crucial to developing a robust and innovative NHS – in other words, Perioperative Care. And this needs to be everybody’s responsibility.

How can I help?

My role as a patient representative has reinforced to me just how important it is for the patient voice to not only be heard, but to be understood by clinicians, politicians and those who administer the NHS. What is requires is a truly collaborative approach to shaping and steering change, which recognises a patient’s needs, and then turns these needs into action.

We can’t deliver this Green Paper without the active participation and help of everyone working to deliver better patient-centred care. If you would like to get involved with this project, then please consider joining our informal ‘sounding board’ of healthcare users, giving us your views as we develop our policy thinking and attending any workshops or events we may host as part of the consultation work for this project.

Please click here for the latest blog on why patients can benefit from a preparation list.