In an unprecedented move, people in England have been given a direct channel to speak to NHS leaders and more power to hold them to account for their actions.

NHS Expo this week saw the launch of a citizen's assembly offering the public a radical new approach not only for holding the Board of NHS England to account but also for taking part in shaping the future of healthcare services.

This novel public participation model, called NHS Citizen, will also give NHS England a new source of evidence and opinion on the NHS and a new mechanism for quicker action across all areas of its work.

Already many groups and organisations are collecting patient opinion on NHS services; the NHS Citizen platform (work on which is still in progress) will offer a means of connecting these conversations and streaming them into discussions on strategy, commissioning or structural reform.

The current model is comprised of three separate arms: Discuss - involving the collection of information and opinion; Gather - providing the opportunity to work together on and debate issues; and the Assembly Meeting - a bi-annual gathering to consider prioritised issues and hold the Board to account.

“I think NHS Citizen could be the key driver of the NHS in England," Lord Victor Adebowale, non-executive director of NHS England and Chief Executive of social care charity Turning Point, told PharmaTimes World News online. "Services and systems that are co-created with patients and citizens are the future of the NHS", he said.