Published: 17/11/2005 Volume 115 No. 5982 Page 8

Most of the people who attended the national consultation event on the healthcare outside hospitals white paper remain to be convinced it will impact on health policy.

Evaluation reports from a daylong deliberative event in Birmingham last month show that 56 per cent of the 998 participants said: 'I am not sure if the results of this event will be influential in the future.' A further 4 per cent said they thought the day would definitely not be influential. The rest believed the consultation day would make a difference.

The Birmingham event - together with four smaller regional ones - cost the Department of Health more than£900,000.

The result of the vote was revealed by Alan Doran of the DoH's white paper team last week. He commented: 'The public is not stupid. It is now our job to prove them wrong.' Shadow health spokesman Andrew Lansley said he was not surprised by participants' low confidence. 'We wouldn't have so many problems if the government had listened to people in the first place, ' he said. 'This dipstick opinion research mentality is a woeful substitute for consistent public involvement.'