Our Community members
The aim is to develop meaningful, diverse and continuous forms of engagement with our communities, including:
- Members of the public
Locally the CCG also works closely with the North of England Commissioning Support Unit, neighbouring CCGs, NHS Trusts and other service providers, the Local Medical Committee, local councillors and local Members of Parliament.
There are a number of ways through which our communities can influence the way local health services operate, which are shown above. The two groups outlined below represent practical examples of how patients can influence the services offered by their own GP surgery and strengthen partnership working with the CCG.
GP practices provide a mechanism for gathering patients’ views through Patient Participation Groups (PPGs). Most of our practices have their own PPG, comprising both virtual and / or physical groups. Most PPGs comprise patients and practice members of staff and meet regularly to discuss issues and concerns about the services and facilities offered by the practice to its patients. Ideally, each PPG would have a representative on the CCG wide Patient Reference Group that you can find out more about on this website.
There are three localities in the North Durham CCG area – Durham, Chester-Le-Street and Derwentside – and each of the GP Patient Participation Groups can nominate a representative to attend the Patient Reference Group. PRGs provide vital sources of information and knowledge for commissioners. As such, the CCG is committed to supporting the development of PRGs and its members, and to ensure a two-way communication is in place to strengthen joined-up working with these groups. As part of this communication and information exchange, nominated representatives from the PRG also sit on the Patient, Public and Carer Engagement Committee, which is part of the CCGs formal governance structures.
Voluntary and community sector organisations and groups
Healthwatch Darlington is a statutory organisation created to gather and voice the views of local communities, see what works well and what can be improved across both health can care services. The CCG work closely on mutual projects, for example Stroke Services (in October 2017) in County Durham where Healthwatch supported the conversations with patients / public to inform the commissioning of Stroke services in our area. You can find out more about their work and keep up to date with the latest news on the Healthwatch website.
Healthwatch Darlington also run the CCGs Community Council of volunteer programme.
We are particularly aware that we need to build and maintain ongoing relationships with a wide range of diverse communities within our area, especially marginalised and vulnerable groups that may experience the greatest health challenges.
These may include:
- Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community members
- Homeless people
- Young people
- Anyone who has been or is being affected by any form of abuse (physical, sexual, financial, emotional)
- Asylum seekers and refugees
- Pregnant ladies or those on leave
- Gypsy Romany Travellers
- People with physical and/or learning disabilities
- People who suffer from mental health problems
- People who live in rural areas
To overcome some of the barriers that prevent the CCG from engaging with these groups and to build long-lasting trust and confidence in the relationships, we will use a number of different approaches, eg: develop better links with community representatives and voluntary sector organisations that have got direct access to specific groups and communities. By relying on a ‘trusted person’, it will be easier to make contacts, build rapport and work together on a regular basis.
Community Pharmacists. Pharmacists play an integral part in primary care. The CCG works closely with patients so that they understand what is on offer to them to help them get better and to keep them well. A community pharmacy can offer a wealth of advice without patients even needing to visit their GP.
Darlington Health and Wellbeing Board. These were set established under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to act as a forum to bring together the NHS, Public Health, Adult Social Care and Children’s Services. The Health and well-being board is hosted by local authorities and plan how best to meet the needs of the local population and tackle health inequalities