Family doctors are being urged to join the NHS Change Day movement as new research published recently reveals that two thirds (65%) of the public think frontline NHS staff have little or no say in how the NHS is run, despite being the ones most trusted to improve it.

NHS Change Day – taking place this year on 3rd March – is a frontline ‘Call to Action’ for staff, patients and the public. The idea is to get as many people as possible to pledge to do one thing to make the NHS better. Last year 189,000 pledges were recorded from all parts of the health and care system.

The research, conducted as part of the run up to NHS Change Day, also found that:
• Only 11% of the public think frontline staff currently have enough say in the running of services;
• Half (50%) put their greatest trust in staff to protect the future of the health service and drive improvement – ahead of NHS management (13%) and politicians (12%).

When the public were asked about their own role in helping the NHS:
• 83% said they could play a role by not missing appointments;
• 82% felt they could help by only going to A&E for genuine emergencies;
• 46% acknowledged that they could do more to keep themselves fit and healthy;
• 28% believed that celebrating what the NHS does well and saying thank you, rather than focusing on faults, would improve the overall quality of services.

Beckton GP, Dr Stuart Sutton, one of the frontline staff behind Change Day, said: “The new research shows how much the public trust us as healthcare professionals to help the NHS rise to the challenges it faces – which exactly what Change Day is all about.

“Last year took everyone by surprise. It was amazing how many people from all parts of the NHS got involved. Staff and patients across the country used Change Day as a sort of collective permission to try and change some of the small things that really frustrated them about the NHS.

“There are certainly no shortage of these in general practice so, as a profession, we have a real chance this year to start to tackle those little niggles head on or to try something we’ve always wanted to do but never had a good enough reason.”

NHS Change Day started in March 2013 after a conversation on Twitter between junior doctors and improvement leaders about what clinicians could do to improve care for their own patients. Their Twitter conversation caught the imagination of staff and patients all over the country and grew into a social movement that generated nearly 200,000 pledges to make one small positive change to the NHS. 

The idea is that by doing something better together, everyone who cares about or values the NHS takes collective responsibility to improve services for people who them, their families and staff.