Engagement and involvement

Communicating and involving local people to help us shape health

Communicating and engaging with the people of Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley, our GP members, partner organisations and the third sector is central to achieving our vision of a more joined-up healthcare system that is safe, affordable and meets the needs of the local population.

It is important  that local people and our stakeholders are involved in shaping and influencing decision making and that communication and engagement is recognised as a two-way process. We listen to the opinions of the people and groups we communicate and engage with, record their feedback and use it to inform our commissioning decisions.

We work with our partners to achieve the best possible health outcomes with the funds available and to help ensure quality and safety in everything we commission. We also develop and support partnership initiatives to help address health inequalities in the area.

Our engagement work involves giving local people and stakeholders the opportunity to shape and influence the commissioning and delivery of healthcare in their local area. It is vital to ensure that local people’s voices are heard and their thoughts are taken into consideration.

Listening is absolutely key. Capturing and sharing patient experiences and stories, for example, can provide insight and influence decision-making. This gives us the opportunity to achieve a greater understanding of the needs of our local population and to commission the services that our communities really need.

But our engagement doesn’t stop at listening, it is about feeding those views in to the commissioning process, making sure views are considered.

The CCG has a legal duty to engage with patients and the public.

This means we need to involve the public, patients and and carers in:

  • planning of commissioning arrangements (this might include consideration of allocation of resources, needs assessment and service specification)
  • proposed changes to services which may impact on patients
  • decisions by the CCG which affect the operation of the commissioning arrangements.

A description of a CCG’s legal duties to ensure public involvement and consultation in commissioning processes and decisions is included in the CCG’s Constitution.

This NHS England document sets out how we should be planning service change to ensure we get assurance from NHS England and can deliver changes to services without legal challenge.

Our Communications and Engagement Strategy for 2018-19 explains how we communicate and engage and highlights our priorities for the coming year.

You can find out more about how we engage in our Communications and Engagement Framework.

Please look through the pages on this section of our website to find out how we involve the public in our governance, how we assure our Governing Body that we are meeting our requirements to engage with local people, our recent engagement activity, and current projects which we are talking to local people about.

You can find out more about how you can have a say in local health services and help us shape health on our Get involved page.