Our approach to involvement

At NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group we are committed to having a range of ways for people to engage with us to help improve services. 

This includes:

  • Being part of our Patient Network and Community Health Assembly to receive regular information on how to get involved. Please get in touch with the Engagement Team for information.
  • Giving feedback through your own Patient Participation Group (PPG) which is aligned to your GP surgery. Please contact your surgery for details.
  • A regular meeting for the Chairs of our PPGs for them to hear direct from the CCG about developments which will affect patients at their surgeries and take that back to their groups. They are also able to provide the CCG with feedback at these meetings.
  • A wide variety of engagement activities on specific projects such as online surveys, focus groups, events, one-to-one interviews, discussions on social media. See Current engagement projects for more details.
  • Feedback on services directly to our Engagement Team who will work with commissioners to make sure your views are considered.
  • Questions to our Governing Body on topics relating to the agenda
  • Online events to meet the Governing Body and lay members.
  • A variety of activities in our local areas involving our lay members for patient and public engagement.
  • Our Involving Medway project.
  • Task and finish patient groups - please get in touch with the Engagement Team for details.
  • Activities in our integrated care partnership (ICP) areas in Medway and Swale, Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley, east Kent and west Kent.
  • Feedback through Healthwatch Kent and Healthwatch Medway who we work closely with.
  • Our governing body lay-member for patient and public engagement (PPE) is Cathy Finnis. Cathy is being supported by seven colleagues who were the local CCG lay-members for PPE before the single CCG was established. 
  • Patient representatives on committees including our Clinical Cabinet, Quality Committee,  Primary Care Operational Groups, Primary Care Committee. 
  • Patient representatives who sit on our working groups as required, for instance in Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley we had a patient representative involved in establishing virtual fracture clinic, as well as engaging with patients.
  • Feedback through our partners in the Integrated Care System who provide services. We meet regularly with them to hear feedback.


The responsibility to ensure the CCG is adequately engaging sits with the Governing Body who seek assurance the public has been involved where required.

Cathy Finnis, Lay Member for Patient and Public Experience, sits on the Governing Body and a number of the CCG committees and seeks assurance and challenges robustly where necessary. Cathy and her associate lay members also meet regularly with the engagement team to discuss progress.

Governing Body and committee papers have a front cover where those submitting papers are required to indicate how they have considered patient and public engagement.

We also provide a section in our annual report each year about how we’ve engaged with the public and there is an NHS England scrutiny process and rating as part of the CCG’s assurance.

We also audit the engagement activities and this is reported to the Audit Committee. This is taking place in March 2022.

Improving the way we engage

The CCG was created on 1 April 2020, in the height of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. This delayed our initial plans for strengthening patient and public involvement further. 

In October 2020 our Governing Body endorsed our engagement framework which is designed to bring significant improvements to how we engage with the public. Read the plan.

The plan details the development of ways to improve engagement opportunities and use of feedback further including:

  • a Citizens' Panel
  • a community development model similar to Involving Medway for the whole of Kent and Medway
  • community researchers
  • reducing inequalities and targeted work to reach all of our communities
  • improving our task and finish patient groups
  • consideration of an online platform specifically for involving patients, the public and stakeholders
  • development of a long term engagement framework for the Kent and Medway Integrated Care System (ICS) which is being developed, to involve patients, the public and stakeholders at ICS, ICP and primary care network (PCN) levels.

We are currently implementing this plan and creating a new Engagement Strategy for the Integrated Care Board when it takes over from the CCG in July 2022. You can read about our current plan in more detail in our Engagement Framework and also on our Ways to get involved page.

Supporting the plan, our accountable officer Wilf Williams said:

“It’s very clear that strong engagement isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the effective thing to do and leads to better decisions.”

  • strengthen engagement culture and capabilities within the CCG
  • establish channels for on-going dialogue with communities, testing new ideas
  • establish systems that our Integrated Care System partners can share
  • use engagement in healthcare to build community resilience and promote wellbeing
  • meet statutory duties to engage
  • enable timely effective consultation on multiple projects.

Be easy to take part in – show we value people’s input and recognise that they have specific interests and concerns and that sometimes people are passionate. Use easy to use technology, creative and innovative approaches and offer people a range of ways to have their say.

Reach out into communities - particularly those who experience health inequalities and who are less likely to be heard – focus on minority communities and those living in areas of deprivation across Kent and Medway.

Work in partnership – with community and voluntary organisations and advocacy and patient groups as well as with our partners in integrated care partnerships and primary care networks. Recognising the expertise and insight of our local community partners and listening to local elected officials.

Be transparent and about why we are making decisions and clear about what we expect and what we will do next. Provide accessible information which is easy to understand, and provide feedback on what we have done to react to people’s views.

Support people to take part – removing the barriers which may stop people getting involved such as language, understanding and cost. Where possible provide training for those getting involved and support people to use technology so they can be involved remotely and safely.

Involve people early on in decision making and plans and support CCG  staff understand how to engage with local communities and patients.

Learn continuously from positive and negative experiences - sharing data and insight to prevent duplication and make involvement more purposeful and learning lessons about how best to engage people particularly during lockdown.

Embedding a culture that prioritises engagement

Moving forward the CCG’s will strengthen capacity and capability to ensure high quality patient and public engagement is part of everything it does by embedding a culture that recognises the benefit of engagement.

A community development model across Kent and Medway

Before the single Kent and Medway CCG was established, Medway CCG had developed an approach to community development that was designed to support the engagement needs of the CCG whilst also actively building community resilience and encouraging community led initiatives to improve health and wellbeing.

This model of engagement looks to go above and beyond the basic statutory requirements of CCGs to engage people in service design and changes. It recognises that active engagement can deliver health and wellbeing benefits and support communities to take more active roles in promoting positive physical and mental health behaviours. Our Governing Body has endorsed the ambition to develop a community development model across the whole of Kent and Medway.

Developing the core elements of a long term involvement framework

Our involvement plan for 2020/21 sets out elements of a long-term engagement framework now being proposed. There is a mixture of maintaining/developing existing elements established by the old CCGs and building new elements designed for the single Kent and Medway CCG. For some we are clear what is required, for others we will need to pilot, evaluate and adapt them to ensure they support the needs of the CCG and the people we engage through them. A few are listed below. Read our plan for more details.

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