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
We provide support to commissioning colleagues within the CCG in relation to public involvement and our duty to involve. The Communications and Engagement Team talks to new starters at their induction day about the importance of communications and engagement with local people and when it is necessary to involve people and communities in our work and a master class has been delivered to commissioning managers.
How we review public involvement activity across our providers
The CCG welcomes all patient feedback and considers this insight alongside other sources of patient satisfaction data such as national and local patient surveys.
The CCG reviews the findings of a wide range of national surveys where patients have provided feedback about their experience of using local services. Examples include the cancer patient experience survey, the community mental health survey and a survey about the experiences of children, young people and parents/carers attending hospital. We work closely with our service providers to assess the findings of these surveys, and to identify any areas for improvement.
The annual GP patient survey provides useful feedback to help our GP practices build on the high quality care they provide. Patient surveys only reflect a small sample of patients, but it is encouraging that the majority of patients who responded to the most recent survey were generally positive about the services provided by their practice. We review each practice’s results and engage with them during our regular visits about any areas for improvement or areas of best practice they can share.
We monitor patient experience and satisfaction of local services through a range of key performance indicators we have in place with our providers, that are monitored. As a key part of provider specifications, we also encourage health and care professionals to work with patients and carers when developing care plans, so that this is done in co-production.
We are also working with local nursing and care homes to review how they capture the experience of residents and families, and this information is reported back into the CCG’s Quality and Performance Committee for assurance.
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 our communications and engagement, ensuring our information and opportunities to get involved in our work are accessible is very important to us.
This includes considering the physical accessibility of venues along with the availability of a loop system as standard ensuring that individuals are able to participate when attending our meetings or events.
We will provide interpretation services at meetings or events if required, and can make printed materials available in alternative formats such as easy read, large print or in other languages.
For people who don’t use the internet or email, we can make hard copies of things like surveys available on request.
In addition, we welcome invites from local groups to come along and talk about the work of the CCG.
The Communications and Engagement teams in the CCG and Bury Council have joined together as one, as part of our joint approach to planning local health and care services together. The Social Development and Engagement team help to connect people to services and support, having built up a network of contacts through the community, including the voluntary sector. Support and funding opportunities are given to events involving the community. Through the neighbourhood engagement approach, the team help to develop local groups, ideas and initiatives at a neighbourhood level. Helping people take an idea or an issue, connect to others and drive forward change. For further information, you can contact the team on 0161 253 7455 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.