Our community members
County Durham CCG has a wide and well-established engagement structure including a variety of community members highlighted below.
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.
Nationally the CCG engages regularly with the Department of Health, NHS England and the Care Quality Commission.
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 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. Each PPG should have a representative on a locality-based group ie. Patient Reference Group.
Patient Reference Groups (PRGs)
There are four Patient Reference Groups in County Durham, they bring patient representatives together from our GP practices in the following areas Durham Dales, Easington, Sedgefield and North Durham. Each PPG should nominate a representative to attend the PRG. 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.
Voluntary and community sector organisations and groups
Healthwatch is a statutory organisation created to gather and voice the views of local communities, see what works well and what can be improved. The CCG work closely on mutual projects, for example Stroke Services in County Durham. Public views were represented to inform the commissioning of Stroke services in our area.
Three Health Networks
East Durham Trust, (the Pioneering Care Partnership and Groundworks North East) have a responsibility to ensure that voluntary and community organisations across the DDES area have a role in determining the shape and delivery of health services. During the Urgent Care Consultation the Health Networks helped us identify reach out to hard-to-reach groups and those with protected characteristics had their views represented.
Investing in Children
This is an organisation that creates spaces for children and young people to come together and discuss ways of developing and improving health services and activities. Investing in Children have two groups that the CCG work closely with. These are:
- the Young Persons Health Group
- The eXtreme Group.
Both of these groups have been instrumental in supporting us in gathering views from children and young people.
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.
Durham County Council / Area Action Partnerships
– Fourteen Area Action Partnerships (AAPs) cover all areas of County Durham and have been set up to give people a greater choice and voice in local affairs. The partnerships allow people to have a say on services, and give organisations the chance to speak directly to local communities. By working in partnership they help ensure that the services of a range of organisations – including the county and town and parish councils, police, fire, health, and voluntary organisations – are directed to meet the needs of local people and focus their actions and spending on issues important to these local communities.
County Durham 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 board’ are hosted by local authorities and plan how best to meet the needs of the local population and tackle health inequalities.
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, e.g: 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.