How we involve the public and how you can get involved in health service developments
Patient and public involvement is at the heart of the CCG. Our Governing Body has a membership that includes four Lay Members, including the Chair who has a specific brief for patient and public involvement as well as responsibility for ensuring that the organisation has a focus on equality and inclusion.
Governing Body Members receive reports to assure them that the CCG is achieving its objectives, and this includes reports and reference in reports to patient and public involvement and equality and inclusion. The front cover of reports has an assurance check list that ensures that patients and public are involved. An example of a specific patient and public involvement report is here.
Our constitution means that our Governing Body is held in public, and members of the public can submit questions for the Governing Body to answer.
The Governing Body also receives assurance and oversight from a sub-committee called the Engagement Oversight Group. It’s members are representatives from Blackburn with Darwen Healthwatch, Patient Participation Groups (PPG) and the CCG’s Clinical Engagement lead to ensure it is inclusive and that “seldom heard” groups are represented. The Engagement Oversight Group reviews and evaluates our patient and public involvement plans and activities.
The planning cycle for the CCG starts with the issuing of national planning guidance by NHS England. You can see the latest round for 2019/20 here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/nhs-operational-planning-and-contracting-guidance.pdf. The guidance is published for CCGs in early January, the final operational plan for CCGs is submitted to NHS England by 4th April 2019. The plan sets out expectations for clinical commissioning and we use this to shape our work plans each year. This includes Patient and Public Involvement.
Our last strategical plan was a five year plan and you can see it here: 5 Year Strategic Plan 2014/15 – 2018/19 Over the last year we have engaged and involved patients and the public on key aspects of this plan. Examples of this include primary care and urgent care.
GP practice Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) are an integral part of our engagement with patients and the public. They are established with each GP practice and if you are registered with a GP practice you can join your PPG. To join your practice PPG just contact the Practice Manager or the reception staff. PPGs support GP practices through health awareness campaigns, surveys, Care Quality Commission inspections. They also support the CCG helping us to promote engagement we are doing across Blackburn with Darwen or within their neighbourhood.
We also have a membership scheme called Citizen Panel. Anyone who lives or works in Blackburn with Darwen can join. We send regular bulletins to Citizen Panel and we invite members to take part in commissioning projects and developments by sitting on project groups, or by reviewing documents and marketing materials, or by participating in surveys and promoting engagement. When you join Citizen Panel we ask if you have any particular interests such as mental health or asthma, for example, and we use this information to match you to any relevant projects or work in those areas.
Commissioning managers and teams at the CCG actively involve patients and the public in much of their work. For example they may wish to redesign a service or consider whether a service needs to be redesigned or changed. Some commissioning involves procurement (buying) new or different services and patient representatives are involved in procurement. Good examples of this are the work we did around care navigation, and extended GP access. Our “matching service” for Citizen Panel means people can contribute their expertise and insights as expert patients.
We have three systems that enable us to hear the views of patients and the public. The first one is Connect where patients, GPs and others can tell us about their experiences of health services. The second one is the complaints, comments and compliments system which we commission from Midlands and Lancashire CSU – details are here. These are reviewed by our Quality team act on them and report on this to the Pennine Lancashire Quality Committee. These reports are covered in reports that are presented to the Governing Body each month.
We also go out to meet people and groups. We call this “outreach”. Good examples of this are the engagement we conducted on gluten free prescribing where we attended the East Lancashire Coeliac Society meetings as well as the East Lancashire Diabetes Groups where we have shared our proposals but also listened to their views.
We also work closely with partners in the communities we serve. We work closely with Healthwatch Blackburn with Darwen who are the voice of patients in our area. Whenever they produce reports from “enter and view” inspections or specific projects we review the project and consider its findings at the Engagement Oversight Group. Any recommendations that arise from Healthwatch reports are shared with commissioners who use this information to improve services in the area.
We work with specific partners such as One Voice, Inter Madressa and Blackburn with Darwen Council to engage with groups and communities.