Dr David Crichton’s blog: Patients at the heart of everything we do

Ben and Frank discuss the Hospital Services Review

New: Patients are at the heart of everything we do

Today, I am pleased to reflect on a full years’ worth of activities and events where we have worked with patients and the public to inform and influence health and care services in Doncaster.

This morning, our Engagement and Experience Committee reviewed the latest annual statement of public and patient involvement and I am delighted with the array of different engagement activities that have taken place, ranging from events with hard to reach communities, surveys and regular conversations.

Effective patient and public engagement is the ‘golden thread’ which runs through our mission, vision and values. As a CCG we want to encourage, support and develop positive relationships with our partners and stakeholders across Doncaster to support effective engagement.

Patients have a right to be involved in every stage of their pathway of care, a right which is enshrined within the NHS constitution. Working with our external partners and with our internal colleagues across the commissioning functions of the CCG; we aim to support and develop a culture which places patients at the heart of our commissioning processes.

By doing this, we will ensure effective and meaningful engagement helps to provide services which meet the needs of our population and provide good value for money.

From 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018, the CCG worked alongside commissioners, health and care service providers and partners to ensure that we are actively engaging and listening to members of our local community.

In April and May 2017, we supported Healthwatch Doncaster talking to people about the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Commissioners Working Together ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plan for South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw’, (STP).

The Commissioners Working Together team wanted to hear what local people thought and felt about the Plan. 180 people engaged in local conversations through 9 groups and 5 local public meetings.

Last year, we also employed three experts by experience; two with lived experience of Learning Disability and a Learning Disability/ Autism family carer.

Doncaster CCG has invested heavily in Care and Treatment Reviews (CTRs), which are part of NHS England’s commitment to transforming services for people with learning disabilities, autism or both. CTRs are for people whose behaviour is seen as challenging and/or for people with a mental health condition. They are used by commissioners for people living in the community and in learning disability and mental health hospitals.

All three experts by experience sit within the Transforming Care Programme (TCP) project group and TCP board in order to inform strategic commissioning requirements.

CTRs also help to improve the quality of care people receive in hospital by asking key questions and making recommendations that lead to improvements in safety, care and treatment. They reduce the amount of time people spend in hospital and bring people together to help to sort out any problems which can keep people in hospital longer than necessary.

They do this by helping to improve current and future care planning, including plans for leaving hospital. CTRs are carried out by an independent panel of people. This includes an expert by experience, who is a person with a learning disability or autism or a family carer with lived experience of services. The panel also includes a clinical expert who is qualified to work in healthcare and the commissioner who pays for the person’s care.

These are just a couple of examples which highlight how we have and continue to work with patients and members of the public, ensuring their voices are heard so they can inform and influence the health and care services that are provided in Doncaster.

Doncaster CCG also has a number of specially selected and supported ‘Health Ambassadors’ which meet to ensure the needs of ‘hard-to-reach’ groups are heard. If you would like to become a Health Ambassador please visit our website – we welcome your involvement.

As Chair of Doncaster CCG and a GP in Bentley, I am passionate about making sure that patients and the public help shape, develop and review services and care pathways to ensure that people remain at the heart of everything we do.