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Health juries paid £60,000 cash in hand

By Georgie Hobbs

The Department of Health yesterday admitted it spent up to £60,000 in one day paying members of the public to give their views of what the future of the NHS should be.

Patients were rewarded with £75 cash in envelopes for taking part in so-called citizen juries, alongside health professionals, including GPs, who were not paid for their views.

The juries met at nine regional events last week to discuss key possible NHS changes , as part of health minister Lord Darzi's Next Stage Review.

A department spokesperson said: ‘All members of the public received £75 in return for their time on the day as well as any travel expenses. This is standard research practice whether for short focus groups or longer deliberative events.

‘The envelope is used for practical reasons, as we do not want large numbers of £50 and £20 notes on display. Cheques do not work as not everybody has a bank account.'

The department calculated the day cost between £55,000 and £60, 000. It added that the events, including one in Birmingham attended by both Lord Darzi and health secretary Alan Johnson, had seen a ‘full and frank exchange of views' between health professionals and the general pubic, who voted over future policies using the same sort of electronic voting devices used in TV quizzes and party conferences.

‘We will be reporting staff and public data separately within the report in order not to skew the results,' said the spokesperson.

Lord Darzi: will judge results of citizen juries Lord Darzi: will judge results of citizen juries

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