Most people would like to have their say on how health services are run but comparatively few have joined local involvement networks, set up to collect feedback on health and social care services, research has suggested.
Sixty per cent of people would like to share their views on NHS services, but so far only 30,000 individuals and organisations have joined LINks, according to government figures.
Other data released to raise the profile of local involvement networks included the fact that people in England use NHS services an average of 2,153 times if they live to be 80, including 31 visits to accident and emergency departments, 12 ambulance journeys and 1,330 prescriptions.
Health secretary Andy Burnham said health services must reflect their surrounding communities.
“In order to ensure they are relevant at a local level they really need patients and members of the public to let them know what works and what doesn’t, what would be useful and what wouldn’t,” he said.
“The more people that get involved in their local involvement network, the more powerful their voice is and therefore the more impact they can have.
“This is essential at a time when the NHS must make sure that it is improving quality at the same time as value.”