A Clinical Commissioning Group Patient Engagement Strategy

I posted back in November about the rather fun work we were doing here in Somerset putting together a Patient Engagement Strategy for the new interim Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The Somerset CCG had been chosen by the Department of Health to do some work on developing Patient Engagement.  They’ve had two Patient Enagement Managers – Tony and Sue – who have worked with the Head of Patient Experience at the PCT (Margaret Grizzell) and an officer from the local LINk (that’s me). We’ve looked at current engagement structures, had feedback from patients and people within the county (including running a ‘PPI Conference’) and produced a Strategy and an Action Plan for the CCG to carry forwards.

>> Somerset Patient and Public Engagement Strategy and Action Plan 2012 (the Action Plan is at the back of the document by the way)

Somerset CCG Patient Engagement Strategy & Action Plan

It's more substance than style, I must admit...

We’ve also started to produce a draft structure for representating the ‘patient voice’ in Somerset.

Draft structure for representating the 'patient voice' in Somerset

Draft structure for representating the 'patient voice' in Somerset

We already have Health Forums (Fora innit?) emerging in the 9 Somerset Federations, so the plan is to base a formal structure around these fora so that messages and views and general engagement-type communciation can escalate from the top to the bottom and vice-versa.

It’s all quite draft-y at the moment and we’re asking people for their views and suggestions for what might be efficient and effective – and inclusive of as many voices as possible.

I’ve really enjoyed helping with this project and I hope that it will lead to a good foundation for patient engagement in the new world of clinical commissioning!

What to do with this information:

  • Be inspired, of course! Lots of people will be working on this sort of thing at the moment, so this info is really here to give you some ideas of what’s been going on in Somerset in terms of early CCG engagement plans.
  • Get involved with your local CCG’s plans: This is obviously ideal work for LINks to get involved in. In order to be authorised (i.e. allowed to take over commissioning properly – a good summary of authorisation here from NHS Hampshire) CCGs will have to demonstrate that they are engaging patients and the public in commissioning decisions. So get involved locally now – whether at the planning stage, bouncing ideas about, or distributing info to your local groups and enthusiastic PPI people.
  • Tell me what you’ve been up to: Let me know if you’re working on similar stuff – I’d love to see how things are working (or not working) in other places!

Patient Engagement and Clinical Commissioning Groups: Where to start…

Here’s a good paper for CCGs…

This handy NHS Confederation discussion paper has been doing the rounds recently. I think it’s a nice paper summarising engagement suggestions for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). CCGs need to get their heads around this stuff because, as this paper reminds us:

CCGs will be expected to have put an approach to enagement in place in order to achieve authorisation by the NHS Commissioning Board.

If your LINk is working with your local CCG, this would be a good paper to hand around. This paper is nice and concise – even I can manage to read 7 pages without getting distracted…

It's good. Read it.

Useful info for CCGs

It doesn’t do exactly what it says on the tin, as it really focuses on Clinical Commissioning Groups, and doesn’t focus on the new commissioning system in its entirity (i.e. it doesn’t mention Health and Wellbeing Boards). But it’s a good discussion paper and gives an honest view about some of the problems and difficulties of engagement.

It includes a handy one-page summary of “Common techniques used in engagement work” which lists engagement techniques, their advantages and disadvantages, and when they might be used.

LINks – are you working with your local Clinical Commissioning Group?

You really should be working with your local CCG as they develop their engagement work, because, again to quote from this paper:

CCGs will achieve most benefit by undertaking a thorough evaluation of existing PPE mechanisms before embarking on new approaches.

And obviously, being a keen LINk person you already have drawers stuffed full of this sort of information and mapping that you’ve been playing with for the last three years at least… So now’s the time to get it out and share.

What we’re doing in Somerset (as you asked)

In Somerset, we are lucky because the PCT is a cluster of one and we just have one Clinical Commissioning Group. (My sympathies to those LINks who have four…) The Somerset CCG was selected by the Department of Health to do some pilot work on patient engagement, so the Clinical Commissioning Group has two Patient Engagement Managers, Tony Hampson and Susan Harris. Tony and Susan have been working with the PCT’s Head of Patient Engagement, Margaret Grizzell, to pull together an Engagement Strategy for the CCG. Along with this, a 12-month Action Plan has been put together for developing and embedding patient engagement in the CCG’s processes. This is in its final stages, and once this has been finished, the documents will be made public (in the next couple of weeks) and then put out for feedback from the public and from Patient Participation Groups, patient groups etc.

I’ve been helping along the way with suggestions and facilitation and sharing any info that I have that might feed into this work. A conference is planned for December when a selection of groups and individuals will have the chance to look at the plan in more detail and feed back more ideas and suggestions. All in all, it seems to be developing well and is proving a great opportunity to draw together what we know about engagement locally and come up with new ideas for the future. I’ll keep you informed…

What to do with this data:

  • Email it to all your chums in CCGs who are working on Engagement with you.
  • Give it to Patient Reps who are keen on This Sort Of Thing as it gives a good basic overview of Engagement techniques.
  • Read it yourself!