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Opinion Leader Hosts Citizens' Summit

October 31 2005

A thousand members of the UK public took part in 100 facilitated group discussions about the future of health and social care at the National Citizens' Summit in Birmingham on Saturday. Opinion Leader Research ran the unprecedented MR exercise as part of the Department of Health's 'Your Health, Your Care, Your Say' public consultation.

Summit participants debated the following themes that have emerged from a series of smaller regional consultation events:

  • Giving people more choice about when, where and how they access health and social care services.
  • Developing and providing more services in the local community, rather than only in hospitals.
  • Involving the public in setting local priorities for health and social care services.
  • Investing in services for people whose health is at greater risk.
The consultation exercise has already sought the views of around 16,000 people via regional and local events and an online questionnaire.

Opinion Leader Research says this type of consultation 'could mark a new relationship between government and citizens, based on openness and transparency'. Deborah Mattinson, co-founder of the company, believes the use of deliberative techniques such as this weekend's summit can 'rebuild the trust between citizen and government and, in doing so, can rebuild democracy'.

Proceedings of the day were broadcast live via the web, and edited highlights will be available soon via www.dh.gov.uk . Opinion Leader Research is online at www.opinionleader.co.uk.

All articles 2006-22 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.

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