Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

NHS staff should play a bigger role in health service changes

The most important people to consult on new models of care are those who will be asked to deliver these reforms on the frontline

The election dice have been rolled and the hard work for policymakers in all departments has begun. None more so than in health. We already knew that the NHS would be set to change again over the coming years in response to the significant challenges facing it on funding, service delivery and workforce culture.

In fact, that change started happening before the election: as healthcare professionals were getting their heads around the implications of the “new models” outlined in the Five Year Forward View, devo Manc introduced ambitious outlines for more joined-up thinking and acting, bringing together the Greater Manchester strategic health and social care partnership board, NHS England, 12 clinical commissioning groups and 10 councils, not to mention the regulators and other government bodies.

With these changes, we run the risk of forgetting what’s most important: that the very people bringing about these changes need to be listened to. What would be unhelpful is top-down diktats. This is reflected in reports pointing to rising staff dissatisfaction, increasing amounts of industrial action and the falling morale of doctors, nurses and support staff.

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Unless we formally involve staff in changes to the NHS, we run the risk of finding ourselves at the bottom of the snake, once again.’ Photograph: image100/Corbis

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