Harlow residents join local NHS group to represent their community

Health / Tue 14th Jul 2015 at 11:32am

Rose ChitsekoNHS West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is unveiling a dynamic, new group of local people – the Sounding Board – who now act as health and care ambassadors for their local communities.

The Sounding Board brings 18 residents of Harlow, Epping Forest and Uttlesford into the heart of local health and care decision-making and is one of the ways the CCG is engaging with the communities it commissions services on behalf of.

Uniting enthusiastic, passionate individuals, the group meets regularly to share their experiences and opinions and to help develop and improve existing services for local people. Sounding Board members also contribute to the design of new, sustainable services in collaboration with the CCG and local clinicians.

Jackie Sully, Sounding Board Chair and Lay member for Patient and Public Engagement of West Essex CCG’s Board, said: “Local people hold the power to instigate real change within the health and care system and it’s our responsibility to empower them, and provide a channel through which they are able to voice their views and make those changes happen.

“A strong local voice is the key to making sure that the CCG commissions services that truly serve the people they are intended to, as well as improve services to ensure the best outcomes and patient experience for local people.

“The Sounding Board is an innovative way of engaging with different areas of our diverse communities and has provided the CCG with the opportunity to work differently, and in a much more collaborative way, to create and sustain good quality health and care services now, and in the future. The group act as the gatekeepers to our local communities and work in partnership with the CCG.”

Bringing their expertise and knowledge in areas such as support for carers, mental health, children and young people, pharmaceuticals, long-term conditions, older people and physical health, the group acts as a conduit to capture the voices of local people across Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford and feeds back their views, ideas and comments to the CCG.

Chris Brotherton, Sounding Board member, said: “I’ve been working closely with the CCG to help raise awareness of exercise referral schemes as an alternative treatment for conditions including obesity.

“I want to help empower people to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing and exercise is a great way of improving both physical and mental health.

“Being a member of the Sounding Board has allowed me to share my expertise as a personal trainer and exercise referral consultant to influence decisions and ensure they are truly patient-centred.”

Rose Chitseko, Sounding Board member, said: “I have a particular interest in mental health services, including the support available for carers of people living with addiction.

“As a member of the Sounding Board, I feel empowered to represent my local community and have a platform to raise local issues. The group will give me the opportunity to inform decisions made about new services, and those that already exist, as well as ensure that the CCG commissions and designs services that are going to be sustainable in the long-term.”

More information on the Sounding Board members can be found on the West Essex CCG website.

To contact one or more members of the group, please email [email protected] with the subject line ‘FAO: CCG Sounding Board’.

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1 Comment for Harlow residents join local NHS group to represent their community:

2015-07-14 15:03:37

What do the Sounding Board feel about the crippling PFI debts across Essex I wonder???

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