Our approach to involvement

At NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group we are committed to having a comprehensive patient and public involvement framework with a wide range of ways to reach and engage people from all communities and all areas of Kent and Medway.

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. 

The CCG was created on 1 April 2020, in the height of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has delayed our initial plans for strengthening patient and public involvement. In October 2020 our Governing Body endorsed a plan designed to bring signifcant improvements to how we engage with the public. Read the plan. 

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.

New elements of our patient and public involvement framework:

The CCG has received external funding from NHS England to pilot a citizens’ panel. These are tried and tested ways to proactively recruit a representative sample of a population to ensure we can collect feedback from our population including hard to reach groups that may not engage through other channels.

A citizens’ health panel for Kent and Medway would involve approximately 2,000 people. Members are actively recruited through a professional market research organisation and enlisted for a time limited period, after which new panel members are recruited to ensure continued access to fresh views and continued representation to any changing demographic. As the panel has full demographic coverage we can ensure we target specific groups e.g. younger people or people from specific communities to ensure we hear their voices.

Panel members would take part in regular surveys and be invited to take part in other specific engagement activities such as a health assembly or project specific task and finish groups. People wanting to remain engaged after their time on the citizens’ panel could join the virtual network and continue to be actively engaged.

NHS England funding already received will allow us to establish a panel as a pilot that would need to be evaluated during 2021/22 and options for recurrent funding (to support regular recruitment of new panel members) identified if the pilot proves effective.

We need members of the public who reflect the population in age, ethnicity, gender, location and other demographics to regularly share their views and ideas on a wide range of issues. The information they provide will help us to understand and meet the needs of our local communities and improve the quality of services we offer.

To register your interest email us.

Task and finish groups would allow people to directly engage on topics of particular interest to them, but would not commit people to a long-term involvement. For the NHS they would give access to a targeted audience of people with direct experience of the service they are working on.

Task and finish groups could consist of 10-12 people who would be engaged through a range of tools from focus-groups, surveys and workshops and would play a key role in reviewing and shaping proposals for service changes and shaping plans for engagement/consultation activity with a wider audience where necessary. A task and finish group would have regular and in-depth involvement in a project from its early conception through design, decision making and implementation.

We propose piloting an online public health assembly to engage key community partners and patient representatives on CCG priority programmes. A health assembly is a form of large facilitated workshop that takes 40 – 50 participants through a series of discussions a given topic. The assembly would consist of a range of representative community organisations together with selected members of the public invited through the citizens’ panel/health network membership. It would involve half a day’s online discussion including selected breakout sessions. 

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