Involving local people to improve health outcomes

As outlined in our Equality and Diversity Strategy, we have a duty to engage with our diverse communities to ensure that services are appropriate and accessible to all and that they meet the different needs of the communities and people we serve.

This page features a number of examples of how we do this...

COVID conversations in the local community 

NHS Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been working closely with our partners in South East Essex (Southend Association of Voluntary Services (SAVS), Southend Borough Council and Healthwatch Southend) throughout the pandemic to ensure a consistent approach when engaging with our residents to promote reliable, trusted and consistent messaging so we can ensure all communities in South East Essex are kept safe and well during the pandemic.

Residents have been invited to attend regular updates on the pandemic and the local response. These events have been co-hosted by Public Health, SAVS. Southend Borough Council and the CCG and has provided an opportunity for residents to hear from system leaders and initiate a two-way dialogue to facilitate the asking questions, providing feedback and generating ideas on how we can help keep people in Southend safe during these times.

We know that some of our diverse communities face the poorest health outcomes and have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Events have therefore been tailored so we afforded an opportunity to listen to their voices in a safe and informal setting. These include Faith Groups, people with disabilities and people from the Black, Asian and Ethnic communities.

The latest updates and insights for residents in South East Essex and their communities can be found here.

Raising awareness of alternative health services 

In a project to target communities that we know face poorer health outcomes, the CCG has worked with partners in the voluntary sector to undertake a tailored face-to-face engagement programme to reduce inappropriate or avoidable attendance at the local A&E department. 

A volunteer team has designed a series of engagement workshops and focus groups to raise awareness about alternative health services with easy to read printed and online materials.  Initial feedback from local people involved in the project is very positive with our approaches being adapted in line with feedback as the project progresses.  The project is launched in December 2019 and will run until March 2020, look out for more details on the project in our 2019/20 Annual Report.

Folk Like Us 02 2019

A Folk Like Us workshop held before Christmas 2019.

Local involvement to help shape the 10 year plan

We worked with Healthwatch to gain a picture of public views and inform how people want the NHS provision shaped over the next 10 years. To gather local resident’s views, key questions were asked as set by NHS within the two surveys. A number of focus groups were also held to explore in more detail what matters most to people and therefore where improvements should be focused when developing the NHS Long Term Plan for the Mid and South Essex footprint.  In Castle Point and Rochford, this included surveys being sent to local groups that support people with identified health needs, promotion through social media and focus groups with our Patient and Community Reference Group.  The engagement and research activity began in March 2019 finished in May 2019. A full report of the findings was shared with all of those that took part and can be found on the Healthwatch England website.

Health-checks for the homeless

Homeless people are among those living in south east Essex who face the poorest health outcomes and we needed to make sure we adapted our approach to shaping a local service that met local needs.  Having seen an initiative being rolled out in Bournemouth that saw health checks with multiple partners being delivered to the homeless, the Integrated Commissioning team (team working for both the CCG and council) tested the idea with Southend's rough sleeping team that includes HARP, the local leading homeless charity.   Partners helped bring the lived experience of the homeless community to shape how best to test out the initiative in Southend.  From winter 2019 local partners working in rough sleeping, public health, primary care, drug and alcohol services and homeless charities arranged for three sessions of health checks for those accessing the winter night shelters and soup kitchens which have proved highly successful.

Co-producing our communications with local people with learning disabilities  

Following reports of a suspected measles outbreak in Southend, we worked with local resident Kat, a self-advocate health champion for people with learning disabilities, to co-produce a video to inform the local learning disability community about the suspected outbreak with clear information about action to take. The video, which has now been viewed almost 500 times, was distributed via social media and via teams at both the local council and the third sector organisations who support those with additional needs. 

How lived experience of mental health conditions has informed better mental health support for local residents 

Supporting residents' mental health requires a system-wide solution and we are therefore committed to working with our partners in the delivery of a Greater Essex Mental Health Strategy that drew on the remarkable assets of people who are affected by mental health problems.

In line with the first principle of the Greater Essex Mental Health Strategy, it is vital that local services are locally-led.   Local people have told us that the things that would make the biggest difference in their lives were:

  • 24/7 mental health crisis care including meaningful alternatives to admission, liaison psychiatry and a more integrated approach with police and other agencies.
  • Ensuring that people can get rapid access to the most effective treatment and support to shift the focus to earlier intervention and prevention.
  • Developing approaches that more effectively integrate mental and physical health services to better meet the needs of people who may have complex health problems.

To help us to develop a local solution, we undertook a number of surveys, steering groups and informal drop-in sessions in the evening aimed at local residents with lived experience of mental health conditions to get a deeper understanding of how we could commission a service that would meet local need. 

The results of the engagement were used to inform the service specification for mental health wellbeing hubs and a crisis sanctuary.    More information on the resulting business case can be found in our Governing Body papers.  The new Sanctuary-by-Sea offer will launch in February 2020. 

8 out of 10 mums – Facebook group

Sepsis is a rare but serious complication of an infection. Without quick treatment, it can lead to multiple organ failure and death.  Children and local parents in our local area were identified as a target audience who would benefit from education of the sign and symptoms.  We undertook some engagement with local parents to understand the most appropriate engagement mechanism.  As a consequence, we linked up with a popular Facebook forum called '8 out of 10 mums' and the specialist sepsis nurse at Southend Hospital to launch a communications campaign to educate followers on sepsis to ensure swift action is taken using a local case study. The video has now been viewed almost 3,000 times and it helped raise awareness of symptoms to prevent delayed diagnosis and the need for intensive, costly care.

Reaching new audiences

We have developed a good relationship with our local Football club, Southend United. This partnership has helped us to reach a predominantly male audience with two communications, one to encourage appropriate use of NHS services and the other to encourage those with respiratory conditions the importance of self-care. The use of popular football players and a 360 photoshoot of the stadium has helped secure wide engagement for both campaigns.

 Missed appointments campaign

Dementia services

Castle Point and Rochford has a high proportion of people over the age of 65.

We know dementia is more common in people over the age of 65, but it can also affect younger people.

To better understand how to meet the needs of local people affected by dementia we undertook a period of engagement that was predominantly face-to-face via community partners e.g. peaceful place in a setting they were familiar with.  There was also the opportunity to feedback via survey if preferred.   

The feedback has, in turn, shaped the services available for local people living with dementia as highlighted in the below table. 

What local people told us What we did

It's important that information is available and accessible when and how you need it.

We created an online and paper resource pack that lists all services and opportunities for people with dementia and their carers.

Having one point of contact would make things easier and improved coordination between health and social care Dementia navigators were introduced in all localities in Castle Point and Rochford and within the hospital – from pre-diagnosis through to end of life.
There should be improved coordination between health and social care Our Community Dementia Team is part of an integrated support team that includes local community mental health services and social workers.
Being able to take part in community life is really important Our Dementia Network Co-ordinator ensures that people with dementia and those that care for them can be actively involved in everyday life.  Part of this work includes working with local businesses and organisations, including our GP practices, to advise on how they can make local services dementia-friendly as part of a Dementia Action Alliance.  We are proud to say that we now have over 140 organisations signed up across south east Essex.

Following a presentation at one of our patient group meetings, a member of that group helped raise awareness and improve dementia services in her local community.

Porl-E south east Essex schools competition

The ‘Porl-E’ competition ran locally across schools in south east Essex – and formed part of wider winter plans across the south east Essex CCGs. The competition ran during November – December 2019 and focused on getting schoolchildren and wider audiences to think about self-care and prevention more generally.

The competition engaged system partners and schools across south east Essex in order to get key audiences thinking about how they might stay well in the winter and help to prevent the spread of winter illnesses, such as colds/flu and stomach bugs.

The competition is a great example of how we have developed a tailored approach to engage younger residents and harness local relationships in the community to support children’s wellbeing.

Download Campaign Overview Presentation

Learning Disability Annual Healthchecks

The NHS has a crucial role to play in helping people with a learning disability lead longer, happier, heathier lives. Improving the health of people with learning disabilities is a priority area for both Clinical Commissioning Groups. In 2018 the Clinical Commissioning Group established a a local task and finish group with key partners reinforcing our commitment to focus on reducing health inequalities for our local Learning Disability Communities.

To make sure that people’s physical and mental health needs are met, we sought to improve the uptake of annual health checks and expanded a programme to reduce inappropriate overmedication. Involvement of those with learning disabilities and those that care for them has been key to this work to ensure local services make reasonable adjustments for people’s needs.

We worked with local and third sector partners to design a fully accessible bespoke (and fun!) World Café style workshop with easy-read materials. 

Birthday card workshop


Who did we ask?

Together with close partnership working with community Health Facilitation Nurses at Essex Partnership University Trust, who specialise in supporting local people with Learning Disabilities and key local authority partners we engaged with a number of local advocacy and local support groups including:

  • Scope
  • RE House
  • The Attic
  • Shields
  • Project 49
  • Southend Learning Disability Partnership Forum
  • Artibility
  • Health Access Champions

What did we ask?

We were keen to understand if there were any barriers stopping people accessing health checks and whether the local community could identify and share what worked well and what didn’t work so well which.

What did we find out?

The workshop was well attended with good feedback and useful insight captured. The CCG was keen to broaden its engagement and produced a patient survey which asked for views from people’s lived experience of the learning disability annual health check.  We received a total of 79 responses.  

The insight and feedback we gathered led to further bespoke workshops with people from the learning disability community to shape and design a yearly annual health check birthday card which would provide a more consistent and engaging way for GP practices to communicate with people on their learning disability register.