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Citizens’ jury on public consultation on “Fit for the Future” – proposed changes to Gloucestershire specialist hospital services

NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group commissioned Citizens Juries c.i.c. with the Center for New Democratic Processes (formerly Jefferson Center) to design and run a citizens’ jury between 19 and 28 January 2021. An online citizens’ jury was held using Zoom to assess the public consultation about Fit for the Future – a programme from One Gloucestershire proposing changes to the way certain specialist hospital services are delivered. The jury met from 1PM to 5.30PM for eight days and heard a wide variety of evidence from 11 different witnesses, and reviewed the process and information released as part of the public consultation. A cross-section of 18 members of the public from across Gloucestershire took part.  The presentations made by witnesses to the jury can be downloaded from the NHS’s Fit for the Future website.  

The jury made recommendations about the public consultation process and information, and about the most important things for the NHS governing bodies to consider from the public responses to the consultation. These are included within the Jurors’ Report and put to the governing bodies of the NHS in Gloucestershire to inform their decisions about the consultation and Fit for the Future proposals more widely.

Information about the jury

Reports from the Fit for the Future public consultation citizens’ jury

You can download and read the Jurors’ Report from the 18 members of the citizens’ jury. It was constructed using the words of the jury members, from observations and statements they prepared together. A draft version was reviewed by jury members as part of the jury process on 28 January. The 18 jury members also completed an on-line end of jury questionnaire where they assessed whether there was any bias, and described their experiences. You can download the questionnaire results from the 18 jury members. Results are also available of the daily feedback questionnaires by jury members which were completed at the end of each of the first seven days.

The Report of the Jury provides further information (e.g. jury recruitment) about the jury.

How the 18 jury members were selected

The opportunity for local people to be part of the citizens’ jury was advertised, and 332 people living within Gloucestershire applied to be members of the jury. The selection process for the citizens’ jury was designed to select a broadly representative sample of adults living in Gloucestershire. 18 members of the citizens’ jury and three reserves were selected (to see how we select juries, click here). Three people withdrew either just before or just after the jury began, and so the three reserves stepped in. Despite the late withdrawals, the jury maintained a good geographical spread across Districts in Gloucestershire.  Click here for a spreadsheet showing the jury’s demographic characteristics.

What the citizens’ jury did

An overview of what happened over the eight days of the jury is described in the Jurors’ Report. The questions the jury had to answer and the other requirements of the jury are set out in the jury specification.

A variety of witnesses were invited to give presentations to jurors in line with the brief for expert witnesses.  Witnesses’ slides and audio recordings of presentations to the jury each day are available through the Fit for the Future webpage devoted to the jury.

The independent oversight panel

The witness slides and other materials were reviewed prior to the jury by an oversight panel who were briefed to check that the jury was being provided with a fair balance of relevant information. The oversight panel members, chosen for their interest in the topic and lack of conflict of interest in any particular jury outcome, were: Karen Newbiggin, Reader in Healthcare Policy and Management, Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham; Ben Stokes, Chair of Health and Wellbeing Board, South Gloucestershire Council; and Helen Webb, Healthwatch Gloucestershire Manager.

The oversight panel reviewed the jury specification, the expert witness brief, the juror agreement, and the slides of all witnesses. Changes were made to documents as a result, including the slides of witnesses before the jury began. Each panel member completed a short questionnaire at the end of the process assessing the potential bias and giving their reasoning.