I recently received an email from Leicester City CCG membership services inviting me to read about “Better Care Together” on http://www.bettercareleicester.nhs.uk/ and respond to the survey.
Looking through the first page of survey questions, I decided not to give answers to the survey questions because they seemed to start from assumptions that I don’t necessarily agree with – so there was no way for me to express my opinion without agreeing to those assumptions. The assumptions seemed to be that the thrust of “Better Care Together” was what I would want, so the questions were merely asking for an opinion on minor tweaks of direction. They particular assumed that choice in who provides a service is what I want; choice sounds like a great thing, but actually I believe what people want in health & social care is control over the service they receive. People don’t know how to rank particular specialists or services – they don’t have medical or social care training or knowledge. We just want a high-quality service near to where we live and work, and to have more control over how this service is delivered in our particular case so it is tailored to our circumstances and isn’t about someone with power or specialist knowledge telling us what we will get.
In some cases, I agree with the thrust of “Better Care Together”, but I don’t want this to be taken for granted when being asked for my opinion.
The other problem I have with the survey is that it doesn’t seem to offer a way for the opinions of respondents to bring about changes in major ways; this ends up feeling like a public relations exercise, rather than genuine consultation. “Better Care Together” is already written, so our responses wouldn’t change it – they would only adjust its direction.
But also “Better Care Together” is written in generalisations, so it’s hard to imagine how it would affect the health & social care we receive – so it’s hard to see, without reading between the lines, how specific services will change: this leads to the likely outcome of most respondents being positive about it because the generalisations are hard to disagree with, but only when it gets implemented will we see what it actually means at the grassroots.
Both of these factors render the survey pointless.