Patient and Community Reference Group

Anne Marie Fordham

The Commissioning Reference Group (CRG) constitutes a network of lay champions who serve as critical friends and support the work of Castle Point & Rochford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to ensure impact of public engagement and ensuring the CCG embed involvement in their work. 

We have produced an induction document to support patient group members in their involvement with the CCG.

The CRG is chaired by Anne-Marie Fordham, a patient representative (right).

You can find minutes from our previous meetings here

The membership of the CRG is made up of a number of people who are able to reflect the views of their local community including:

  • Patient Participation Group representatives
  • Voluntary Sector Representatives
  • Healthwatch Essex
  • The CCG Board Lay Member with responsibility for Patient and Public Engagement (PPE)
  • The CCG Chair
  • Local Faith groups

The group meets every other month. At these meetings patients and the public can influence decisions about local healthcare, bring any issues, concerns or good news stories, to the group. The feedback from the group is fed back both as part of the Quality Finance and Performance Report and at the start of all Governing Body meetings with full minutes also included as an appendix.

As part of the commissioning process the CCG is continually seeking opportunities to extend its patient and public engagement within the community in order that we can obtain a broader view of the challenges and gaps in services which have been identified and will inform future service redesign. 

The CCG also provides training to members of the public who are involved in our work.

How do we make sure the patient voice is heard?

Patient engagement is represented at Governing Body by a lay member for Patient & Public Involvement.  A big part of this role is to:

  • Gain assurance that the CCG is meeting its patient and public involvement (PPI) duties and use their expertise to support a particular focus on reducing identified health inequalities.
  • Seeks assurance that the voice of the local population is heard, including that of all vulnerable groups and communities
  • Gain assurance that the CCG is meeting its duties under the Equality Act, and that a culture of equality and diversity is embedded within the organisation e.g. providing challenge and input around the CCGs’ efforts to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity amongst people with protected characteristics and tackle prejudice by promoting understanding.

Patient involvement is also very much a part of our project planning processes ensuring all staff understand the importance of making sure local people with lived experience have a strong voice.

Details of patient engagement activities can be found in our Annual Reports and in Accountable Officer updates that are presented at each public Governing Body meeting.

Some comments from current members of the group:

“My inclusion on this group helps me to understand the work that is going on within CP&R to support patients in a primary, acute and community environment. I use this information to increase my knowledge to use in my role of Chair of Rushbottom Lane Surgery PPG and as a Benfleet patient representative.  I also hope that the presenters at the meetings find our feedback useful in helping them improve services.” Cheryl, patient representative from Benfleet

"The Patient and Community Reference Group provides me with an opportunity to make a difference, promote change, and enhance the conduit with patients to increase knowledge and gain their ideas." John, patient representative from Castle Point.

"I have only attended my first meeting but I was made to feel welcome and to raise questions and be heard. It is great to be able to influence services as a patient and also learn about the work that is happening locally to improve health services locally." Julia, patient representative from Hockley

“As the Primary Care Lay Member on the Governing Body it is invaluable to me to be part of an active CRG that participate in giving their views on the healthcare within our locality. I am also a member of my GP practice PPG and again it is extremely helpful to have their input into wider commissioning decisions. I always aim to ensure that the patient perspective is embedded into Governing Body decisions and that we protect the needs of the most vulnerable in our community.” Pauline Stratford, Lay Member for Primary Care, NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG and NHS Southend CCG

“As a local charity that supports those most vulnerable in our area, to be part of the CRG group has assisted us with the understanding of both the challenges and developments of the local health arena. Partnership discussions have also facilitated the opportunity for our organisation to design non-clinical support for our community in our endeavours to prevent ill-health, address loneliness and isolation and overall improve wellbeing.” Lindsey Gillingham, Head of Operations and Schemes for Castle Point Association of Voluntary Services.