Promoting patient and public participation – what can primary care do?
We’re all familiar with the mantra ‘no decision about me without me’ – but how do we make this real? Here are just a few ways:
Act as advocates
Our patients are at the heart of our NHS. In our everyday work we hear stories of what’s working well, what helps and what frustrates. As Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) members we can act as advocates for our patients and for a better NHS, influencing what is commissioned and how – so that our patients get what they need to stay healthy, manage their own health and get the best treatment when they need it. Let's use every avenue we have to get the patient voice heard: Governing body members, locality networks and meetings, all practice events, quality alert systems....
Support people to stay healthy
Lambeth people have told us they don’t want to clog up waiting rooms; they want to take charge of their own health. We can provide information, signposts and advice on how best to do this. Leaflets, posters and a word from you can help, but we also have a team of health trainers
and a growing body of ‘healthy living champions’ and ‘community champions’ – ordinary people who want to help themselves and others to get active, eat well, tackle stress or stop smoking. Some have trained for this motivational role through the CCG in partnership with Lambeth Patient Participation Group (PPG) Network (PPGNetworkLambeth@gmail.com
), others via the Southwark and Lambeth Integrated Care Programme
or the Diabetes Modernisation Initiative. How can we make better use of them to spread the word? And recruit willing volunteers to do more informal activity: a reading or gardening group at your practice? or leading one of Lambeth’s active walks? (training is free).
Encourage and support self-management
Being diagnosed with a long-term condition doesn’t mean people have to become dependent on services. With information, education and support from others in a similar situation, people can stay in control. As individuals, patients should be able to exercise choice and be partners in their care plans; some will have personal health budgets. For clinicians that means changing relationships
- a different style, structure and tone to consultations. We can train ourselves, rehearse and practise but we can also plug our patients into education and self-management programmes, offer books on prescription, peer support and patient groups that will empower them. Think about whether you might be able to kickstart a self-help group with a talk from your practice nurse, Lambeth’s Expert Patient Programme
or the Diabetes Modernisation Initiative.
Develop the collective voice
Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) can help you trouble-shoot problems in your practice, identify areas where quality can be improved, even work out why you’re not meeting targets. Patients see things from a different perspective – one you don’t have, so have a regular ‘in your shoes’ session to see what you can learn. We have tips on getting started and keeping the momentum going and can offer training on working with groups and meeting the requirements of the Patient Participation DES
. CCG Governing Body meetings
are held in public every two months and we have an ‘open mic’ slot for an hour beforehand where anyone can come and ask a question or raise a concern. You can advertise this to your own patients – let them know when the next meeting is.
There are legal requirements
on CCGs to consult, involve and inform patients and the public, and we need to report on this each year. We have an Engagement and Communications Strategy
to keep us focused, and this is overseen by our Engagement, Equalities and Communications Committee. Our clinical lead for engagement is Dr Raj Mitra. For further information contact Catherine Flynn, Engagement Manager at NHS Lambeth CCG: email@example.com
or 020 3049 4250