We want patients to be at the heart of everything NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) does. Patients have a right to be involved in the planning and decision making regarding their health and care and the right to information and support which will enable them to make informed decisions.
Engagement with patients, carers and the public can result in:
- better outcomes and patient experience - involving patients in decisions about their
- own health and care can improve care;
- improved services - gathering and using patient experiences can help the CCG
- commission (buy) and deliver services more effectively and based on what we know
- makes people feel they have received a good experience;
- reduced demand - informing and engaging people can increase self-care, improve
- take-up rates for healthy options, and reduce inappropriate service use; and
- deliver change - involving people in discussions and decisions about service changes
- can make it easier to manage risks and deliver difficult change successfully.
The CCG is committed to working with the community in a different way - so people are involved in discussions and decisions which affect their health and social care.
This means getting the community involved at the very beginning of a project, not just asking them what they think of something that’s already been decided. We believe that better decisions are made when the patients and professionals work together.
There have been many examples over the past 12 months on how we have actively engaged and worked with patients across the community.
We are aspiring to drive a real culture change across the health and social care system to put engagement and co-production at the heart of everything that we do. We are developing citizen leaders, who we call community ambassadors, to help us make the radical changes needed to our services to deliver patient-centred care in a cost-effective way.
With our community ambassadors programme and through all actions we do with the public, we are helping residents to actively participate in design and delivery of services – now and in the future.
Other engagement events which have happened over the last year include:
Annual General Meeting – Around 150 people attended the Annual General Meeting at The Harlington, in Fleet in September 2016.
The event covered the work done by the CCG and its partners during 2015/16 to design and provide the best possible health and care services for local people, with a particular focus on improving the mental and physical wellbeing of the younger members of the area’s population.
Primary Care strategy - In North East Hampshire and Farnham we have 23 GP practices providing primary health care to 225,000 people in Aldershot, Farnborough, Farnham, Fleet, Yateley and surrounding areas.
The CCG’s Primary Care Strategy is our plan for the future of general practice (family doctor services) and for the people who work with and utilise these services.
In our area and nationally, the level of demand for health and social care services is rising rapidly. People are living longer and this means they develop more health problems and need more care. At the same time, there are about 20 GP vacancies in North East Hampshire and Farnham, and many new GPs choose to work part-time in order to pursue research or other clinical interests while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Due to the rising demand and workforce pressures, we know that the current system is unsustainable and we are looking to create a system which will be fit for the future needs of our population. If we do not take action we will simply be putting more money into a system that is not working properly, and by March 2020 there will be a significant gap between what we have and the services we need to pay for.
We are currently working with local people to explore how primary health care can best be delivered to people in our area. At the end of 2016 we undertook a survey to ask patients how they would like to receive primary health care and how we can work together to ensure the right kinds of care and services are provided in our communities.
This year, following the results of the survey, we will continue to work with patients to further understand local need and to design the future of general practice.
Cancer awareness and support events – The CCG has held numerous cancer awareness and supports events including a pop-up shop which featured a team of medical and support staff offering passers-by health advice and lifestyle tips and free health checks. Staff gave 234 health checks during the event and 68 people were referred to their GP – mainly for raised blood pressure.
Also dozens of cancer survivors and people with the disease came together at special events to learn how to live with and beyond the condition.
More than 170 patients, family members and carers attended each of the sessions to learn more about managing cancer on a day-to-day basis. The events were laid on by us in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support and Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust.
Guests received expert psychological advice on how they and their families could stay strong in the face of cancer. Speakers gave tips on how to manage fatigue, which types of physical activity could help people to remain healthy and how their diet could contribute to their wellbeing.
Carers support - Carers are family members or friends who support a sick, vulnerable or disabled person to live their life. The role of the carer is vital for the person whom they support, as well as to the health and social care system. The responsibility of caring for another individual can be a full-time responsibility, or one which fits around the carer’s other responsibilities—such as working and family commitments.
In 2016, Healthwatch Hampshire (supported by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers) undertook a programme which engaged with carers in the community. The feedback from these events helped to form a small working group (including carers) to create a plan for how to best work with carers in the design and development of community services and support.
The plan pledges to engage with carers at a time and in a venue which is convenient for them. We will engage with carers:
- at a range of times to accommodate different commitments;
- at places where they are already attending a group or service;
- at locations they feel comfortable and that have all the facilities they need (parking on site, disabled access and toilets etc); and
- paired with the opportunity to find out information and access support services.
- Work with providers - based on several engagement events which have happened this year with carers, some themes and issues have emerged. Therefore the comments/suggestions that have been made at these events need to be addressed with providers. They will be asked how these are being addressed, or how these will be addressed in the future. It is planned to follow up with providers to ensure that actions they have agreed to do will be monitored.
- Raise awareness - gaps in awareness of services have been identified within various community groups. An example is where the Nepali community were not aware of the Carers Hubs. To resolve this, the Princess Royal Trust for Carers was put in contact with Rushmoor Healthy Living, who run a number of community groups in the Nepalese community. The result has been that the Trust has attended some community groups to inform them of the support available. This will be continued as the community said messages needed to be given on a regular basis.
- Develop a commissioning plan – some of the comments/suggestions we have received from carers impact on what is currently commissioned by NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group and their partners.