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‘The Panel talked about the necessity of being able to talk to a person when you need to’

Our Health and Care Director, Miriam Levin, reflects on the latest People’s Panel sessions on poor communications in the NHS

The People’s Panel took the case studies shared in their previous session as the jumping off point for this meeting. They were tasked with looking at the better communication they want to see across all parts of the patient journey.

From finding your way into the system, being referred to consultants and specialists, navigating the system while you’re in it, and then leaving care.

They liked bits of all the case studies Imperial College Health Partners shared. But were keen to make sure the lessons learned from each of them could be rolled out and implemented feasibly at a national level.

A lot of time went into thinking through how ideas could be put into practice, adding in further additions and developments to shape the changes needed.

Both digital and non-digital solutions were discussed. On the digital front, the key overriding message was to have just one app.

One single simplified platform where people can see their notes, make appointments, change appointments and track test results. Where GPs, clinicians and patients all interact so everyone’s on the same page and everything’s in one place.

Digital exclusion was discussed and how to better support people. Particularly the need for things to be consistent across the UK, rather than the multiplicity of apps out there at the moment.

The Panel talked about the absolute necessity of being able to talk to a person when you need to. The idea of a care navigation role – steering people in the right direction and helping them through the NHS system – was popular.

It’s been done within a GP setting but the Panel felt it could work well in the community and homeless shelters as well.

By the close of the session, the Panel had drawn up eight statements summarising what they wanted to see changed, with thoughts on how they could be implemented.

Their feedback will next be looked at alongside reflections from The Patient’s Association and The Practice Manager’s Association, before being coalesced into concrete ideas.