Our Governing Body scrutinises the engagement and public involvement work of the CCG.
The Governing Body has a lay member for patient and public engagement. In Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley this is Rosemary Bolton and it is her job to ensure that public and patients’ views are heard. Rosemary has worked in the NHS in acute and primary care for more than 30 years and was Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development for an acute trust for five years. More recently, she has focused on service improvement, working with patients and clinicians to improve services.
Rosemary also sits on other groups and committees within the CCG including the Patient Participation Group Chairs group and Primary Care Committee.
The Governing Body meets together with the Governing Body of Swale Clinical Commissioning Group who has a patient representative, Alan Jenner, who ensures the patient voice is heard and considered in decision making. The patient representative position on the Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCG Governing Body is currently vacant (March 2019).
Shelley Whittaker, our Head of Communications and Engagement, sits on the Governing Body as well to ensure the patients views are heard and considered. She leads a team which supports commissioners to ensure they involve the public and patients when considering service improvements and change.
The Governing Body scrutinises patient and public involvement. But our patients do that too.
We meet regularly with Healthwatch Kent to update them on our work and they provide critical challenge when required.
Our Patient Participation Group Chairs group also acts as a critical friend, providing feedback from their networks about our services which we take to commissioners to consider and effect change.
We also scrutinise our own engagement activities and in the past year we have made changes to the way we engage as a result. Our engagement is now far more thorough than it was. We found the same cohort of people were engaging with us through our stakeholder database so we decided to launch our roving roadshow which goes out to public spaces such as supermarkets and talks to a much wider variety of people about local health care services.
The public has told us they like this approach and find it a good way to talk to their local NHS.
We are currently planning a number of videos and animations as a way to engage with local people too. This will enable us to use subtitles, sound, voiceovers and subtitles in different languages to reach out to audiences who find communication challenging, as well as those who like to view materials online.
Working with our patient groups
The Patient Participation Group Chairs group has a regular update on communications and engagement and also reviews some of our key documents.
Our annual report goes through a governance process where it is scrutinised by our Governing Body, including our lay member Rosemary, and patient rep Alan.
The annual report summary is developed with support from the members of the Patient Participation Group Chairs group. Last year (2017/18) they advised on the look and language used in the summary. They also worked with the communication and engagement team to develop the communications and engagement strategy and the communications and engagement framework. Both documents were altered as a result of feedback from the group. Initially, the information was contained in one document but the group advised that the strategy should be much shorter and link to the framework.
The group also gives feedback on our promotional campaigns and materials, and some members act as our critical friend by checking documents are in plain English and accessible.
Patient representatives on committees and boards
As well as our lay member for patient and public involvement, patient representatives also sit on some of our committees, steering committees and implementation boards. They also join our procurement panels when we are procuring services. They represent the patient voice in our decision making process.
In 2018/19 we have patient and/or public involvement representatives on the following. You can read details of how they have influenced decision making in the papers from these meetings which are linked in the table below:
|Governing Body||Patient and Public Involvement Lay Member
|Primary Care Committee||Patient and Public Involvement Lay Member
|Urgent Care Implementation Board||Patient rep|
|Urgent Care procurement panel||Patient rep|
|Clinical Cabinet||Patient rep|
|Quality, Finance and Performance Committee||Patient and Public Involvement Lay Member|
|Patient Participation Group Chairs||Members of the public who represent the local community for their GP practice and have an interest in health
Patient and Public Involvement Lay Member
If you’d like to get in touch with one of our patient representatives or our lay member for patient and public involvement, please contact the CCG communication and engagement team on 03000 424903.
Communications and engagement principles
Our communications and engagement principles are at the heart of all we do to ensure our activities are:
Timely: Information should arrive at a time when it is needed and be relevant.
Two-way: We will provide multiple channels to communicate with staff, the public and stakeholders and to encourage them to communicate with us.
Clear: Messages should be communicated in plain language. They should be easy to understand and not open to misinterpretation. Written messages should be concise, use short sentences and avoid jargon.
Open: We should be transparent about our decisions and engage in dialogue. Questions from staff, GP members, the public and stakeholders should be welcomed and answered.
Corporate: Information should reflect a consistent CCG view while remaining in line with national NHS guidance.
Targeted: We need to make sure the right messages reach the right audiences, in the right way, at the right time.
Accessible: Information should be communicated using the most appropriate medium for the targeted audience, for example easy-read formats, and should be easy to find.
Local people should be at the heart of everything we do and by giving them a strong voice they have the ability to be able to shape and drive our work and the development of local health and care services.
Working with our providers and partners
Our providers and partners also work with patients to improve services.
Healthwatch Kent works very closely with the health system and patients to drive improvements to services and patient involvement. We meet regularly with them to discuss service improvement and engagement and they act as our critical friend. They are also the eyes and ears of our local residents and visit our services to get an independent view on them. We read and digest the reports they write about NHS services and discuss how we can use that learning to make improvements to our own services.
Our provider organisations such as Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, Virgin Care and South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) also engage with the public with a view to improving services. Our communications and engagement team has strong links with counterparts in these organisations and sits on a countywide NHS patient involvement group. We also work closely with our regulators NHS England and feedback is given to our quality team and commissioners about any issues with services which are raised through our providers or regulators. Our complaints team also works closely with its counterparts in other NHS orgnisations.
Our GP practices engage with their patients in a number of ways and we support them to do this.
Each GP practice has a Patient Participation Group (PPG) which encourages patients to get involved. The CCG supports the PPGs with advice on how to engage with patients. In the past year we have given advice to new PPG Chairs and individuals and groups who have wanted to get more involved. We helped a group re-establish in Swanley and attended their first meeting to advise. We have shared information and support materials for PPGs from Healthwatch Kent, and we are currently planning an event for PPGs for the summer of 2019.
In addition, we offer advice to practices and our primary care team on engagement when GP practices are planning material changes to their services, mergers or closures.
In Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley, we have supported and advised Old Road West and practices considering mergers.
We have also been working with other CCGs in Kent to produce a guide on engagement for GP practices which is due to be launched in March 2019.