The Patients Association is an independent patient charity campaigning for improvements in health and social care for patients.
Uniquely for a charity with a remit covering all health and care issues, we work with patients directly: they are our members and supporters, and also the people who benefit from our help and advice services. Through our helpline we support thousands of people each year with their concerns and queries about the health and social care system.
We also speak to government, the NHS and other stakeholders about patients' priorities and concerns, to ensure the patient voice is heard and acted upon.
Our strategy focusses on patient partnership and we want to build confidence in patients from all backgrounds to work in partnership with healthcare professionals to get the care they need. We also think it is important for patients to work in partnership with organisations such as ourselves to help others, through sharing their experiences of the health system.
We believe it is important for patients from all backgrounds to be represented in our work and it is vital for those that are often underrepresented to have a voice in shaping their care and that of others. This may include refugees, LGBT+ people, travellers, those who do not have English as a first language, and people from rural communities where health services are often not as easy to access because of distance
We have a lived experience advisory panel consisting of people from a diverse range of backgrounds and are making changes in our work and having conversations with the NHS, as a result of their experiences. Our projects often involve engagement activities with patients, which we ensure are always a diverse group.
We are the chair of the Patient Coalition for AI, Data and Digital Tech in Health, which unites a varied group of patient groups, charities, Royal Colleges and industry with a focus on championing the patient perspective in digital health. The coalition published a report, Putting patients first: championing good practice in combatting digital health inequalities in May 2022 focussing on digital health inequalities and the impact that digital exclusion is having on health in the UK.
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