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Soc Sci Med. 2014 Dec;123:202-9. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.07.016. Epub 2014 Jul 8.

The voluntary sector and health policy: the role of national level health consumer and patients' organisations in the UK.

Author information

1
Health Policy Research Unit, Hugh Aston Building, De Montfort University, Leicester LE1 9BH, UK. Electronic address: rbaggott@dmu.ac.uk.
2
Health Policy Research Unit, Hugh Aston Building, De Montfort University, Leicester LE1 9BH, UK. Electronic address: kljones@dmu.ac.uk.

Abstract

This article explores the policy role of health consumer and patients' organisations (HCPOs), an important subset of the UK voluntary health sector. Based on research findings from two surveys, the article examines the activities, resources and contacts of HCPOs. It also assesses their impact on health policy and reform. There is some evidence that HCPOs can influence policy and reform. However, much depends on the alliances they build with other policy actors (including other HCPOs), their resources and leadership. HCPOs seem to have more impact on the detail of policy than on the direction of travel. In addition, there are potentially adverse consequences for HCPOs that do engage with the policy process, which may partly explain why some are wary of such involvement. For example, it is possible that HCPOs can be manipulated by government and other powerful policy actors such as health professionals and the drugs industry.

KEYWORDS:

Health consumer and patients' organisations; Impact; Policy; UK; Voluntary health sector

PMID:
25085720
DOI:
10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.07.016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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