SUPPORT-SYSTEMS (46) Q3 Examples of civil society organisations and health policymaking (5) HIFA and UK health policy

24 May, 2022

Dear HIFA colleagues,

In this discussion we are expecially interested to hear about your personal experience in relation to policymaking and dicision-making, in your country or in your community. This could be from any perspective: as an invidual, as a representative of a civil society organisation (NGO, faith-based organisation, professional association...) or as a decisionmaker/policymaker (or indeed any other stakeholder).

Speaking from my position as coordinator of HIFA, my experience of influencing national (ie UK) policy is limited. I think perhaps the best example we have is our involvement in the development of a British Medical Association resolution, which was approved unanimously by the BMA in 2015: “That this meeting applauds efforts to bring essential healthcare information to citizens in low resource settings, welcomes the BMA’s ongoing support for the Healthcare Information for All campaign, and calls upon the UK government to prioritise support for initiatives that improve the availability and use of health information.” Despite the "call upon the UK government" there has been no change in UK political or financial commitment. But we should not be disheartened by this - I hear in a Lancet podcast this week that whole Series in The Lancet, involving dozens if not hundreds of researchers, typically have little if any impact (on their own, but I would counter that they are critical *steps towards* achieving impact).

One very positive consequence of the BMA resolution was that the BMA took a similar and more detailed proposal (with recommendations for action) to the World Medical Association. In December 2019 the WMA, representing 115 national medical associations and more than 10 million doctors worldwide, unanimously approved and published a Statement on Healthcare Information For All in recognition of theimportance of access to reliable healthcare information and protection from misinformation.

I look forward to hear about your experience(s). Please send to:

Best wishes, Neil


Let's build a future where every person has access to reliable healthcare information and is protected from misinformation - Join HIFA:

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is global coordinator of the HIFA global health movement (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in official relations with WHO. HIFA brings stakeholders together to accelerate progress towards universal access to reliable healthcare information. Twitter: @hifa_org