National Voices has been established by key players in the voluntary sector to address the gap between rhetoric and practice in user-led policy. Set up last month, it brings together all national voluntary organisations representing users of health and social care to give them a stronger voice in policymaking.
It will work with policymakers in Westminster and Whitehall to make sure the voices of patients, carers and service users are heard, and that their diverse needs are placed at the heart of policy development.
The organisation has turned to InHealth, which was set up last June by Julian Tyndale-Biscoe, the former head of communications and marketing at health information firm Dr Foster (PRWeek, 6 June 2007). Tyndale-Biscoe launched the consultancy to tap into growing private sector involvement in the NHS.
InHealth is charged with helping to find out from patients, carers and service users what they want from service providers. It wants to ensure that the public's views are genuinely taken into account.
'The challenge is that National Voices represents the views of many diverse members and that they each must have a voice,' said Tyndale-Biscoe. 'National Voices needs to find issues that unite them all and make its voice heard.'
The agency was appointed to the account without a competitive pitch. It has been primarily brought on board to raise awareness of the organisation within the NHS and health sector, and with the general public.