Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have received an improved rating from NHS England concerning how we involve patients and the public in our work as clinical commissioning organisations.
The Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are run by local GPs who commission (buy) local health services for residents in Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Ribble Valley (excluding Longridge) and Rossendale. We receive a budget from the Department of Health to plan and pay for most local NHS services. This includes commissioning planned hospital care, rehabilitative care, urgent and emergency care, most community health services, and mental health and learning disability services. We do not manage local NHS hospitals, which are independent trusts, however we do pay for many of the services they offer.
Because of their role in planning and buying health services, CCGs have a statutory and legal duty to involve the public. Effective patient and public participation helps CCGs to plan and commission services that meet the needs of local communities and tackle health inequalities.
Last year both Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire CCGs achieved a rating of “requires improvement” following the external assessment by NHS England. This year, both organisations have achieved an improved score; East Lancashire CCG achieved a rating of “outstanding” and Blackburn with Darwen CCG achieved a rating of “good”.
The assessment considers how the CCGs not only involve patients and the public, but more importantly how they act on the views and how this helps CCGs in their decision making. It also considers the day to day practice of patient and public involvement, and how the CCGs communicate the findings of engagement. Finally, the assessment considers how the CCGs actively seek to address health and social inequalities.
Michelle Pilling, Deputy Chair of East Lancashire CCG and Lay Advisor for Patient and Public Involvement, said:
“I am delighted that the CCG has achieved this rating. Much of our work starts from the ethos of working with patients and the public right from the germ of an idea through to the final delivery of a plan. This is called co-production and where we have co-produced our plans it results in higher quality services that, work better for people whilst ensuring better outcomes too. I would like to pay a special thank you to all the patients who dedicate their time and energies to supporting us across a wide range of activities, the Patient Partners Board members for their guidance and CCG staff for their dedication in putting patients at the heart of everything we do.
“The Government’s vision is of an NHS that puts patients and the public first, where “no decision about me, without me” is the norm. While the rating signals that we are moving in that direction, we need to continue this trend and do more to make it consistent and sustained.”
Graham Burgess, Chair of Blackburn with Darwen CCG, said:
“I am delighted that we have improved our rating in this important assessment. The involvement of patients and the public is absolutely crucial for NHS organisations in ensuring that they plan and commission services that meet the needs of those very people. Patient and public involvement is enshrined in the NHS constitution and it is right that patients and the public as recipients of NHS care are involved in our planning and commissioning of health services.
“I would like to pay testament to our partnership work with Blackburn with Darwen Healthwatch which acts as the voice of the public in Blackburn with Darwen. Along with our own engagement, Healthwatch plays an important role in ensuring we reach and hear the voices of patients and the public. Importantly Healthwatch holds us to account to ensure that we act on the views of patients and the public.”