We use the phrase ‘lay member’ to refer to a member of one of our committees who has personal experience of using health or care services. The phrase could also refer to someone from a community affected by the committee's topic area.
Lay members can include:
- people who use health and social care services
- unpaid carers
- advocates, or people who work with a relevant voluntary or support organisation.
The role of lay members
Lay members contribute the perspectives of patients, people who use services, carers, or communities to a committee's work. This means they tend to offer a different point of view from other members on a committee.
Lay members usually have an expert understanding of what matters most for people using health and care services.
How we support lay members
Our Public Involvement Programme (PIP) supports all lay members before, during and after their time on one of our committees.
All members are given a PIP contact to guide them through their committee's work. PIP contacts are also on hand to answer any questions lay members may have.
How do lay members get involved?
During their time spent on a committee, lay members:
- identify issues of concern to people using NHS, public health or social care services
- review topic information and the draft guidance from a patient, service user, carer or community perspective. For instance, does the information address issues important to people affected by the guidance? Does the guidance take their views into account?
- make sure the guidance considers people from different backgrounds.
What our lay committee members said
Watch lay members talk about their experience of our committees.