●● BILL Swann, NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) lay member for patient and public involvement
We all come into contact with the NHS at some point in our lives; it’s a vastly important national asset which many of us would like to have more influence over.
But the size and scale of the NHS can leave us all feeling bewildered about how to make our voices heard.
Yet, in reality, there are lots of ways in which we can shape our health service – and getting involved with the CCG is a great way to do so.
NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG plans and buys much of the healthcare available to the 204,000 people in our area. The services we commission include nearly every type of healthcare to which GPs refer their patients, including hospital and mental health services.
What’s more, we’re finalising plans to accept delegated responsibility from NHS England for most GP services from next April.
We’re also one of the partners in the Caring Together programme, which aims to join up care around the needs of individuals.
In other words, our decisions have a big impact on the way care services are provided and that’s why we want the residents of Eastern Cheshire to be as involved in the CCG as possible.
‘Involvement’ in the CCG can be as small a step as joining our Caring Together newsletter mailing list to hear what we have been doing each month, or as large as being involved in our decision-making process.
Indeed, members of our patient and carer reference group HealthVoice have the opportunity to present patient perspectives as part of the CCG’s service redesign and commissioning processes, and have done so most recently for mental health transformation and the gastroenterology service.
HealthVoice is a champion for and represents the interests of patients, carers and the public across Eastern Cheshire and acts as an independent advisor to the CCG to ensure the patient voice is heard.
Anyone can become a member of HealthVoice, whether you choose to go to its regular forum meetings or would simply like to be kept up-to-date with its activities.
Visit echealthvoice.info or email ecccg. firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Another way the public can become involved in the Eastern Cheshire health economy is by becoming a Caring Together supporter – the simplest level of this just means that you support the idea of integrated care and want to spread the word.
Visit caringtogether.info or email ecccg. email@example.com to find out more.
It is your NHS, so do take one of these opportunities to become involved, as we need your input to help ensure we develop services which meet your needs.