Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

●» WITH Dr Paul Bowen, a GP with McIlvride Med­i­cal Prac­tice, Poyn­ton, and ex­ec­u­tive chair of NHS Eastern Cheshire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group (CCG). WITH the gen­eral elec­tion loom­ing, the NHS is an in­evitable hot topic.

Is­sues keenly de­bated in­clude A&E wait­ing times, ac­cess to GP ap­point­ments and the avail­abil­ity and qual­ity of care.

While the cut and thrust of po­lit­i­cal spar­ring ap­peals to some, there are oth­ers who may feel alien­ated from the process, be­cause they be­lieve they are pow­er­less to in­flu­ence what hap­pens to health­care in their com­mu­nity.

Yet here in Eastern Cheshire, there are lots of ways in which peo­ple can help shape the way in which the NHS works.

For more than two years, NHS Eastern Cheshire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group (CCG) has sup­ported an in­de­pen­dent vol­un­tary body called HealthVoice, which rep­re­sents the public’s views and in­forms the CCG’s de­ci­sions about plan­ning and buy­ing health ser­vices for more than 204,000 peo­ple.

HealthVoice is open to ev­ery­one and meets ev­ery six weeks in venues across eastern Cheshire.

Find out more by vis­it­ing www.echealth or fol­low­ing @ECHealthVoice on Twit­ter.

How­ever, at­tend­ing HealthVoice meet­ings is by no means the only way to have a say on health­care in eastern Cheshire.

All 23 of our GP prac­tices have a pa­tient par­tic­i­pa­tion group that en­sures pa­tients’ views are taken into ac­count when de­ci­sions are made on pri­mary care ser­vices – ask your prac­tice re­cep­tion­ist for de­tails.

The CCG’s gov­ern­ing body meets in public ev­ery month.

Its next meet­ing is in Con­gle­ton Town Hall on Wed­nes­day, April 29, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, fol­lowed by an in­for­mal ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion un­til 9pm.

There is also an or­gan­i­sa­tion called Health­watch Cheshire East which works with vol­un­teers to in­spect lo­cal health ser­vices and in­ves­ti­gate peo­ple’s com­plaints.

Here in eastern Cheshire, we take public in­volve­ment very se­ri­ously – un­der­lin­ing the com­mit­ment in our Car­ing To­gether trans­for­ma­tion pro­gramme to em­power peo­ple to take great care of them­selves and in­flu­ence the way we work.

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