The role of PPV members on the UK NSC – GOV.UK

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Published 14 November 2022

© Crown copyright 2022
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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-nsc-the-role-of-patient-and-public-voice-members/the-role-of-ppv-members-on-the-uk-nsc
There are patient and public voice (PPV) representatives on the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC), its adult reference group (ARG) and its fetal, maternal and child health (FMCH) expert group.
PPVs provide input from the start and throughout the development of evidence products.
The UK NSC’s PPV members play an important role in bringing the voice of patients and the public to complex discussions on screening matters. PPVs are unpaid lay members of the UK NSC and its expert groups.
PPVs, like other members, help inform and improve the work of the committee, making sure recommendations and discussions are clear and balanced. For more information about the range of expertise on the UK NSC and its sub-groups, see the Membership section of the UK NSC code of practice.
PPVs have the added task of bringing a public perspective to the discussion, so that concerns raised during consultations are properly considered and that UK NSC recommendations stand up to public scrutiny.
Screening concepts and language can appear complex and sometimes counter-intuitive to the wider public. Similarly, some issues of potential importance to the wider public may be less obvious to screening professionals. PPVs are crucial to helping the committee describe a screening topic in a way that is comprehensible to the wider public, as well as being sensitive to people affected by the condition being discussed.
PPVs are not appointed to champion the views or opinions of specific groups or individuals. All members of the UK NSC and its expert groups are appointed as individuals, not as representatives of their organisations or to advance their personal interests.
PPVs can help ensure the UK NSC listens to, considers and addresses public concerns and issues about screening topics. The PPVs can, for example, consider how best to communicate recommendations to the public and stakeholders in a way that is sensitive and clear as well as accurate and led by evidence. PPVs also have a role in challenging existing thinking and approaches. They can encourage innovations and improvements in how the UK NSC engages with the public and other stakeholders.
PPVs support the UK NSC in making recommendations in line with the principle that the benefits of screening must outweigh the harms.
The UK NSC aims to appoint PPVs who have the knowledge, skills and experience needed to contribute constructive advice, insight and challenges to the committee’s discussions.
The UK NSC advertises all its vacancies on GOV.UK and requires PPVs to meet the essential criteria required to fulfil the role.
In addition to being able to commit the time required for the role, PPVs should have an understanding of screening, how the NHS works and the ability both to present their views clearly and to consider and respect the views of others.
Most members of the UK NSC and its expert groups belong to professional bodies through which they can seek support. PPVs may not have access to such resources. The UK NSC secretariat, members and experienced PPVs therefore provide a range of support and induction processes to new PPVs.
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