The views of patients, carers and the public matter to us and we want to involve them in the decisions we make. By working with patients, carers and the public, we are able to develop services which meet the needs of our community.

Patient and public involvement in commissioning is about enabling people to share 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, and our duties are set out in Section 14Z2 of the NHS Act 2006 (as amended 2012).

The legal 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. Patients and the public can often identify innovative, effective and efficient ways of designing, delivering and joining up services. This involvement is an essential component of our work to plan and purchase a range of quality services that meet people’s needs.

By involving and listening to people who use local health services, our teams can better understand their needs and respond to what matters most to people.

During the year there has been a formal consultation in respect to Urgent Care Services and a number of smaller scale engagement projects on a range of themes to ensure that services are meeting the needs of local people, whilst identifying any opportunities for changes that could be made to improve the patient experience.

Projects during the year included work to help develop a holistic mental health framework for Bury with a view to offering more integrated and coordinated services for local people; services to support people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and services focussed on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, which included a review of the Healthy Young Minds service.

Public participation and our commissioning cycle

Patients and the public can often identify innovative, effective and efficient ways of designing, delivering and joining up services. This involvement is a vital part of what is known as our commissioning cycle.

The ‘commissioning cycle’ describes the various steps in planning and purchasing health services for local people. There are various stages where public involvement 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 such as age or disability, are fully considered.

Our Communications and Engagement team, which is now a joint team with Bury Council, supports commissioning colleagues to undertake engagement with groups, some of which will encompass individuals with protected characteristics. This work is reported within our equality declaration.

We use important information such as feedback from the GP patient survey which helps to support local practices to continually improve, and quality information to help us to understand local health needs.

A patient and public involvement theme has been built into our commissioning staff masterclass workshops and within our commissioning project documentation to ensure that patient and public involvement and equality are considered fully at every stage.

Approaches and accessibility

Different participation approaches will be appropriate depending on the nature of the commissioning activity and the people we would like to seek feedback from. 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.

Local people are able to sign up to our E-Newsletter known as Health Matters, to keep up to date on our work and opportunities to get involved.  If an individual would prefer to receive information by post or in another way, this can also be accommodated.

Find out more about getting involved in our work, here.