Patient and public involvement in commissioning is about enabling people to voice their views, needs and wishes, and to contribute to plans, proposals and decisions about local services.
We have a legal duty to involve patients and the public in our work in a meaningful way to improve health and care services. The duty is relevant to designing and planning services, decision making and proposals for changes that will impact on individuals or groups and how health services are provided to them.
Involving people in our work is a legal duty, but it is also the right thing to do. By involving and listening to people who use and access local services, our teams can better understand health needs and respond to what matters most to people.
Patients and the public can often identify innovative, effective and efficient ways of designing, delivering and joining up services and this involvement is a vital part of what is known as our commissioning cycle.
Governance and assurance
Our Patient Cabinet plays an important role in ensuring that the voice of local people is influential in our decision making. Chaired by the Lay member for Patient and Public Involvement, the Patient Cabinet is a sub-committee of the Governing Body and performs a key role in ensuring the CCG has meaningful involvement and engagement with people and communities. Our Patience Cabinet gathers views and feedback to make sure that people have a chance to feed into and actively participate in our work.
The Patient Cabinet meets monthly to fulfil its role of ensuring that the patient and public voice is integral to our work by:
- Regularly receiving and commenting on CCG plans
- Working with clinical and commissioning colleagues on service redesign programmes
- Gathering and feeding in views from the local community via attendance at practice-based Patient Participation Groups and forging links with local voluntary and community groups
- Supporting practices to develop Patient Participation Groups
Public participation and our commissioning cycle
The commissioning cycle describes the various steps in planning and purchasing services for local people. There are various stages where public participation can inform our work, from planning services, to commissioning (buying) them and monitoring their performance.
As part of the process of identifying people who may be affected by a proposed change, equality impact assessments are completed to ensure that all people and communities, including those with protected characteristics, are fully considered.
Our Communications and Engagement team continues to support commissioning colleagues to undertake small scale engagement with groups, some of which will encompass individuals with protected characteristics, and this is reported within our equality declaration.
We also use important data sets such as feedback from the GP patient survey, the Friends and Family Test and quality information, to provide important intelligence to understand the health needs of our local population.
Different participation approaches will be appropriate, depending on the nature of the commissioning activity and the people we want to involve. Approaches may include surveys, public meetings and focus groups, along with the use of social media and the local press.
When considering participation accessibility is very important, for example the physical accessibility of venues, and the availability of a loop system as standard, to ensure that individuals are able to participate when attending meetings or events. In addition, we have the ability to provide interpretation services if required, and to make printed materials available in alternative formats or languages where necessary.
Promoting opportunities to get involved
We encourage local people to become involved in our work through our get involved approach. Individuals can sign up to receive regular updates via email (or by post if they don’t have access to the internet). Updates include our latest news and opportunities to get involved, for example through engagement surveys or public events. We encourage people to get involved in the future through our website, the press and media, social media, through our networks including the voluntary sector and Healthwatch, and at any public events such as our annual general meeting or other public meetings.
In addition to keeping local people and communities updated on our work regularly through the above mechanisms, we also advertise key messages on advertisement screens located in every GP surgery, and through information on the online portal known as The Bury Directory.
We have developed closer links with GP Practice Patient Participation Groups through both Patient Cabinet members and our GP Practice Managers, to create a flow of information into and out of the organisation.
During the year we have also developed closer links with Bury’s vibrant Voluntary, Community and Faith Sector Alliance. Third sector colleagues are often uniquely placed to engage with particular groups to advocate on their behalf. The support of the Alliance in reaching a wider breadth and depth of people in local communities has been valuable in supporting the CCG to increase the impact of its engagement, and we look forward to continuing to build on these relationships moving forward.
Looking ahead, we are exploring how we can more effectively promote equality and diversity, look for new ways to pro-actively seek participation from people who experience health inequalities and poor health outcomes, ensure that people with lived experience enrich our conversations, and start to develop partnerships with local communities to start to have a different conversation.