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.
The CRG is chaired by Anne-Marie Fordham, a patient representative (right).
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.
Some comments from current members of the group:
“Being involved in the CRG for the past several years has been a joy. Professionally I have been able to hone my skills as a chair an opportunity given to me by the other members of the group nominating me.
I have also been able to build a network of people which has supported both my paid employment in health care services but also my volunteer role with a local health and social care charity. On a personal level, being able to be part of an organisation that helps improve the service and care for the locality I live and work in has been really valuable. I have met some wonderful people who share my ambition to make the area we live and work in the best it can be.” Samantha Glover, Chair, NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG Commissioning Reference Group
“As the PPI 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, PPI Lay Member for NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG
“The CRG brings together the medical and organisational expertise or the Trust with those who experience its services and understand the communities served by the trust. I enjoy the mutual respect that allows robust discussion. Hard questions are asked and the suggestions and observations made are taken seriously and acted on. From the point of view of my responsibilities as a parish priest and area dean, it enables me to reflect the communities that I know to the Trust and take back opportunities to engage and useful and appropriate health messages.” Rev. Richard Jordan, Area Dean of Rochford Deanery
“The value of being a CRG member is that the CCG seek our opinion as patient representatives when new initiatives are being considered. We also hear about new services being provided in both primary, secondary care and the voluntary sector which we can then share with our patient group. This has encouraged Rushbottom Lane PPG to start looking at how it can reach out to its 20,000 patients so we can share relevant information, albeit this is at an early stage of development. It also provides a means of raising issues relevant to the local patient population with the CCG.” Cheryl, Chair of Rushbottom Lane Patient Participation Group (PPG)
“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.