The Mass Observation project/movement lives on (new website too). I'm particularly intrerested in the latest directive – call to observers to write in on a specific issue (want to become one?) - which is focused on health and social care experiences – You & the NHS in 2008.

Specifcally the directive looks for comments on the following areas:

How have you been treated by the NHS in the last decade?
What improvements and/or deterioration have you experienced? (for example: GP services, out of hours services, hospital services, waits for referral and appointments, physiotherapy and in particular dentistry.) What was your relationship with staff like? Did you feel safe and treated with dignity?

Do you have any experience of private health care or care abroad which you can compare with care received in the NHS?

Please describe any specific health and social care experience from the list below that apply to you and your family: as patients, carers or health professionals

  • Childbirth, child or adolescent health
  • Long term conditions  – for example asthma, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, mental illness, physical and/or learning disabilities
  • Older age including dementia, dying and death
  • Self help and support from self help groups

Your views on the future of health and social care and the NHS

The costs
How do you think health and social care should be paid for?

Health care priorities
As resources are limited, what would be your priorities? You might want to consider expensive new drugs; further reductions in waiting times; more care at home rather than hospital; more private services delivered in the NHS; or something else?

And so it goes on.

Why post this?

I'm fascinated by this 'long conversation' approach to policy and wonder to what extent the findings from observers could be fed back into the current debates and Green Paper preparations that are in play – who will read these missives? Or, to what degree will this effort produce an noteworthy historical resource to be used to analyse the gaps between the reports and the ensuing policy. Either way, it shows that Mass Obs has the ability to live on, and evolve to address current issues and concerns, and demonstrates that the idea of people-centred / user consultation is not quite as new as some would have us believe.