They asked for our opinion on the #NHS. And then they didn’t listen

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They asked for our opinion on the NHS. And then they didn’t listen

The Department of Health held a public consultation on the health service, and the response crashed the site. But despite polite assurances, there is no real shift on key concerns

A Christmas rally in London supports junior doctors and NHS students.
A Christmas rally in London supports junior doctors and NHS students. Photograph: Peter Marshall/Demotix/Corbis

The government has published its NHS mandate with the accompanying consultation response. You may remember this consultation process. It was the invitation to participate that got lost in the post.

Campaigning groups 38 degrees and OurNHS highlighted the fact that the deadline for the public to comment on the proposed mandate was fast approaching but no one seemed to know about it. Then, I wrote a piece for the Guardian and you shared, commented and crashed the Department of Health(DH) website. There had been 900 responses before the piece, and by the close of play four days later the figure had reached nearly 130,000.

Healthwatch UK confirms that the Guardian article led to a dramatic influx of responses by the public. No one seems more surprised by the scale of the response than the DH itself. Its report says: “We have consulted publicly twice on the mandate in the past and on both occasions attracted around 300 responses with slightly more than half originating from members of the public and the rest from institutions.”

Read more here

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