Patients Association

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The Patients Association is an advocacy group operating in the UK that aims to improve patients' experience of healthcare.[1] Established in 1963, it is one of the oldest independent charities in the UK and became a registered charity in 1991.[2]


The Patients Association's current projects include[3]:

The organisation runs a national helpline "providing specialist information, advice and signposting to help people navigate the often complex world of health and social care."[4] It cannot provide medical or legal advice.


The Patients Association's income for 2016 was £254,862 and it held reserves of £471,604 at the end of the year.[5] It receives most of its funding from individual and corporate membership (76% in 2016[5]) which the organisation says "ensures that we do not have to receive core funding from Government; therefore, we can represent the interests of patients alone."[6] It receives a smaller amount of funding through donations from patients, the public, and grant giving charitable organisations.

President and Vice-Presidents[edit]

Sir Robert Francis, QC is the President of the Patients Association.[7] The Vice-Presidents comprise:


The Patients Association was set up in 1963 by Helen Hodgson, "a part-time teacher who was motivated by recent events concerning the drug Thalidomide, and reports of patients receiving the wrong treatment and tests being carried out on patients without their informed consent."[8]

Over the years the association has monitored trends in patient satisfaction and opinion; promoted the voice of the patient in NHS and private healthcare; represented the patient's viewpoint to official bodies such as the Department of Health, medical and nursing colleges and professional organisations such as the British Medical Association and General Medical Council; provided an advisory service for patients and their relatives; offered patients the opportunity to share their experiences of the whole range of healthcare services; campaigned on issues such as hospital conditions, waiting lists and visiting hours, standards of care, patient consent, codes of practice regarding use of patients in teaching, subject access to medical records, and confidentiality.[citation needed]

Dame Elizabeth Ackroyd was the President from 1971 to 1978, and from 1978 she was appointed as the Chair. She was considered the heart and soul of the association in terms of representation on committees and working parties, engagement with the media, attending events, and (with a small industrious staff) the day-to-day business and running of the organisation. A source of formidable energy and enthusiasm, as well as running the association, Dame Elizabeth held prominent roles in the National Consumer Council established in 1963, the Consumers' Association and numerous other voluntary organisations.[citation needed]


External links[edit]