Three key ways for you to influence decisions on what NHS services do locally

Politics / Tue 15th Apr 2014 at 08:21am

NHS WEST Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (WECCG) plans and buys health services to meet the needs of people in west Essex and has broadened its programme of opportunities to listen to and involve patients, carers, local people and local organisations.

These enhancements to grass roots involvement are based on the successes of the 2013 campaign My Health, My Future, My say, which allowed WECCG to reach out a wider audience by visiting their communities and talking one-to-one. The local NHS and care providers are now working much more closely together to look at how people access services and what they need to stay healthy and receive the right support.

Updated plans include: 1. Public Question & Answer Sessions with doctors and managers who lead WECCG; 2. Opportunities to work with the teams that deliver services, on their areas of specialism; 3. A key addition is the creation of a new proactive group bringing together local people and staff from WECCG to look together at better understanding local communities and their needs.

The CCG will be asking local people who can speak on behalf of diverse communities to come forward and join a group which will have real influence on WECCG’s decision-making.

Rob Gerlis, Chair of WECCG said: “Such a wide variety of ways to involve patients, carers, and other local people is unprecedented and we’re really excited about not only hearing what more of the public have to say, but translating their views into action.

“Last year, the My Health My Future My Say campaign proved a huge success in gathering opinions and we’re confident these new channels for public involvement will be even more successful as they will reach an even greater audience. By welcoming all voices and points of view, we will be able to work towards our goal of delivering the best quality care for all our patients.”

Six question and answer sessions will take place across Harlow, Epping and Uttlesford and will offer the opportunity for the public to ask questions and make suggestions directly to GPs and senior managers. Without a set agenda, it will be up to the public to decide what to quiz the panel on and what suggestions or comments to make.

As well as these sessions, West Essex CCG will work with experts in mental health, long term conditions, women’s and children’s and older people to ensure they have their own tools to involve local people. Aiming to make it easier for people to access the CCG, these channels will be tailored to suit the needs of the relevant audience.

The whole community based group is aimed at users of all health and care services. Later this month, people will be invited to apply for membership through an application form. A pack will shortly be available and those who require assistance in completing it, will receive support, but in the meantime anyone with an interest is asked to contact Anita Millar (Patient Engagement Coordinator, tel: 01992 566140 Ext: 1463 mobile: 07580904773 email: [email protected]).

Arthur Moody, Chairman, Ongar Patient Forum said: “Any increase in methods of participation is welcome and these plans sound like a great way of involving local people and giving local residents – be them from Epping Forest, Harlow or Uttlesford – the chance to speak directly to the people in charge of healthcare in our area.”

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