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Today it gave me great pleasure to introduce the Public and Patient Update to NHS Thanet CCG at the first full meeting of the Governing Body since my appointment.

Firstly I’d like to thank Emma Burns, Principal Associate - Media and Communications, the author of the report.

The report outlined my first few months, getting to grips with my new role as Lay Member for Patient and Public Engagement.

I’ve met with a number of Patient Participation Groups at surgeries across Thanet and each event has been a real eye opener. We really do have some wonderful local residents; keen to do whatever they can to help improve services.

Promoting the Thanet Health Network has also been a key focus for me and I’ll be doing all I can to encourage Thanet residents to join our online network to ‘have their say’ at every given opportunity - see link at 1) below.

Working with partner agencies is also a priority for me and recently I’ve been supporting Healthwatch Kent through events in Margate and at Westwood.

The NHS 111 and Out of Hours Service here in East Kent referred to in the attached report are now ‘on hold’ due to central directives received since going to print. However, the Stroke Services Review, Integrated Community Equipment Service, Integrated care Organisation, Talking Therapy Services and Neuro Developmental Service are issues on which patient and public engagement, in one form or another, is currently or will shortly be taking place.

The report also outlines media relations over the past couple of months. These included advice on staying safe and avoiding A&E, on mental health and emotional wellbeing, matters from dementia to hay fever and promoting public engagement.

Probably the most controversial matter to be clarified was dealt with through the published joint ‘Open Letter to the People of East Kent’ from the East Kent CCG Chairs.

The document also notes the very necessary annual reports, summaries and the ‘resilience capacity plan’.

The report also details the imminent Patient newsletter, available at a surgery near you any day now. I’ve seen a draft copy and it’s a very bright and positive publication. Most importantly it gives a very clear example of how Thanet patients are helping to shape services for residents right across Kent.

The report goes on to explain in detail the CCG’s focus on raising awareness of dementia and outlines the campaign to reduce medicines being wasted.

It also gives examples of digital and social media being used by the CCG to communicate with residents.

After presenting the report I also gave a brief update on recent talks with the 3rd sector.

Since the report went to print we’ve held a meeting with voluntary and community groups from across Thanet to improve communications between the 3rdsector and NHS Thanet CCG.

It proved to be a very positive event and I hope to have news on subsequent actions at future CCG meetings.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my Thanet Lay Member PPE predecessor Dominic Carter for his kind help with the smooth hand over of duties and Brian Wash, formerly of South Kent Coast CCG for his comprehensive ‘words of wisdom’.

Lastly, I’d just like to say that the past 3 months have indeed been a real learning curve for me in my new role, but I could not have had a warmer or more friendly welcome from everyone I’ve had the pleasure to work with.

In every office and at every level I have been met by totally committed and exceptionally professional people who are doing work they dearly and passionately believe in, and that really is an absolute delight to witness!




Communications and engagement progress report July 2015


NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group recognises that listening to and acting on what matters to local people is key to the delivery of our commissioning intentions and plans.

Engaging and communicating with patients and local people to jointly design and commission services will make them a more active and powerful resource. It will also help us to gain a much better return on the money we invest in local services.

A summary of recent activity is included below.

  • Patient and stakeholder engagement

1.1 Engagement and communications to support development of care in and around our towns and localities

The new Lay Member, Clive Hart, has contacted all Thanet GP surgeries and has offered to meet each of their respective Patient Participation Groups (PPGs). He has had very positive meetings with East Cliff PPG, Westgate PPG and St Peters PPG. He has dates to meet Bethesda PPG, Minster PPG and Birchington PPG. And he is progressing arrangements with Dashwood PPG and Albion Road PPG. He will follow up with the other surgeries. From 1 April 2015, it has been mandatory for each GP practice in England to have a patient participation group.

Clive Hart has also been meeting representatives of Thanet social housing to ask them to promote membership of the Thanet Health Network to their residents. There was general agreement among the social housing providers to do this and arrangements are in hand for them to undertake this work in an appropriate manner to suit each organisation taking part.

Clive attended a day-long event at the Droit House in Margate to discuss how public engagement might take place in the event of any possible future changes to services provided by East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust. This was part of engagement around development of the trust’s clinical strategy.

Clive also supported Healthwatch Kent by visiting the Healthwatch big red bus when it was at Westwood Cross on Sunday 14 June, as part of a wider tour of Kent. 1.2 Reprocurement of NHS 111 and GP out-of-hours services – east Kent area - NOW POSTPONED

  • Stroke services review

The NHS is looking for local people to share their experiences of and views on how to improve local stroke care, particularly in the vital first 72 hours after first symptoms are experienced.

This is part of a Kent and Medway wide review of hyper-acute stroke services (which provide treatment and care in the first 72 hours).

We are holding an event in Thanet on Wednesday 15 July at Turner Contemporary Centre, Rendezvous cafe, Margate, CT9 1HG from 4-6pm. After this session, NHS England is holding an event to discuss specialist vascular treatment and people are welcome to stay for that discussion too. Stroke is the third biggest killer in the UK and a major cause of long term disability. People who have had a stroke need rapid access to a specialist medical team 24/7 – doctors, nurses and therapists – to maximise their chances of survival and enable their recovery.

  • Integrated Community Equipment Service

The procurement of an integrated community equipment service (which is being jointly commissioned by Kent County Council and the Kent CCGs) is expected to conclude this month. Service users and patients have been involved in evaluating bids. Thanet representatives were part of a Kent wide workshop to draw up success criteria for the new service which is due to start in December. A communications plan is in development.

  • Integrated Care Organisation

We propose to work with our communications and engagement colleagues in the other NHS organisations and local authorities in the area covered by NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group to develop a whole-system approach to communications and engagement, which will support communications and engagement work for our Integrated Care Organisation.

  • Talking therapy services

We are working with the other clinical commissioning groups in east Kent to reprocure talking therapy services, which support patients with mild to moderate anxiety, depression and other common mental health problems. As part of this, the Mental Health Action Group and Health Reference Group for NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group have reviewed the specification for the new service and contributed to the work of developing success criteria for it. An update on the procurement will be considered by the Kent Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee this month.

  • Neuro developmental services

We are awaiting analysis of a survey circulated to GP practices, voluntary and community sector organisations, and service users to ask about their experience of neuro developmental services and their ideas for improvement. Feedback will inform future plans. We are reviewing these services as part of work with the other Kent clinical commissioning groups to develop a comprehensive approach to treatment and care for children, young people and adults with neuro developmental conditions such as autistic spectrum conditions or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

2.0 Spreading the word through the media and other communications

2.1 Media relations

We keep the local media updated on plans and progress and regularly receive good coverage for new stories. We also provide responses to requests for further information.

  • Doctors urge residents to stay safe this bank holiday GPs are appealing for people in Thanet to take some simple steps to avoid wasting their May bank holiday weekends in A&E.

  • Looking after your mental health NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging local people to think about their emotional wellbeing during Mental Health Awareness Week (11 to 17 May).

  • Do you know what to do if you need health help this bank holiday? GPs are appealing for people in Thanet to take some simple steps to avoid wasting their May bank holiday weekend in A&E.

  • Early dementia diagnosis key to unlocking support It is estimated that 2,335 people in Thanet have dementia, but only 48.3 per cent of these individuals have received a formal diagnosis.

  • An Open Letter to the People of East Kent from CCG Clinical Chairs An open letter to the people of east Kent.

  • Hay fever sufferers urged to use pharmacists NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging people to use their local pharmacy for common minor ailments like hay fever.

  • Local NHS seeks views in Thanet on stroke and vascular services The NHS is looking for local people to share their experiences of and views on how to improve local stroke care and inpatient vascular services, at a series of events across Kent from 1-30 July.

  • Stay safe as temperatures soar in Thanet Summer months can be a busy time for the NHS, with soaring temperatures leading to increased numbers of patients suffering heat exhaustion, sunburn and allergic reactions from insect bites. And the elderly and very young are most at risk.

2.2 Annual operating plan

We are finalising a summary of our annual operating plan which covers our work programme for 2015/16, our priorities and challenges in a concise and simple way. We want to make it easy for our population to understand what we are doing and why.

2.3 Annual report summary

We are also producing a summary of our annual report and accounts, which similarly covers our achievements and challenges in 2014/15. The full annual report and accounts are available on the CCG website,

2.4 Urgent care communications

The CCG has a national requirement to produce an operational resilience and capacity plan. This is to help manage seasonal pressures. As part of the plan for 2015/16, the CCG is developing a communications plan to support key messaging around use of A&E. We will work closely with providers of NHS services and Kent County Council communications on delivery of the plan, and are seeking innovative ways to engage with other organisations in Thanet to spread the word.

2.5 Patient newsletter

Thanet’s four-page newsletter has traditionally contained news stories aligned to the CCG’s commissioning intentions and to public health messages, including mental health, alcohol and smoking.

The summer 2015 edition, which has been produced and will be distributed this month (July) to usual outlets, including GP surgeries, and posted on the CCG website, contains more engagement-orientated news, including introducing the new CCG lay member for public and patient engagement, Clive Hart.

It also has news about the involvement of Thanet patients in development of the patient transport charter, and the ‘open letter’ from the east Kent CCGs, concerning EKHUFT’s clinical strategy.

We believe the mixture of public health and patient engagement stories will be enjoyed by readers and will enable them to interact more easily with the CCG if they wish to do so.

With pockets of deprivation in Thanet, and identified ‘hard to reach’ groups, the content of the newsletter will continue to reach out to all members of the community. We aim to feature a patient case study in the next newsletter.

Any stories that cannot be contained within the pages are converted into press releases or online articles. An example of this is the online article about Dr Heather Scott and her role as Thanet CCG’s inequalities lead.

2.6 Dementia awareness

NHS Thanet CCG is continuing its work with other CCGs in Kent – and Kent County Council and Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) – to raise awareness of dementia and increase early diagnosis.

The March 2015 dementia diagnosis rate in Thanet was 48.20 per cent– an improvement on the January 2015 figure of 46.88 per cent, and the September 2014 figure of 37.26 per cent. But in the south east region, Thanet has a diagnosis rate that is relatively low.

Dementia Awareness Week took place between 18 to 24 May this year, and the CCG was involved in a pan-Kent awareness-raising campaign.

Dementia Focus magazine, which was partly funded by the CCG, was distributed to outlets, including supermarkets and pharmacists, during the week.

The magazine was aimed at people with dementia and those who care for them, including spouses, and adult daughters and sons.

One of the main articles was an interview with the CCG’s clinical lead for dementia, Dr Venkat Reddy, of Mocketts Wood surgery in St Peter’s, Broadstairs.

The magazine also featured contact numbers and email addresses so local people can find further information, advice and services.

During Dementia Awareness Week, press releases were sent out, and the campaign was highlighted on Thanet’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

A campaign to increase awareness of the early symptoms of dementia and encourage people to seek medical advice, when appropriate, will continue. Visual images to raise awareness of symptoms and the need for diagnosis are being tested with patients, clinicians and members of the public.

The local media will offer invaluable help in raising awareness of dementia in Thanet, and awareness-raising will link to other publicity surrounding age-associated long-term health conditions.

2.7 Medicines waste

To reduce the amount of medicines wasted, we have developed plans for phase two of a medicines waste campaign.

Phase one was delivered in January 2015 and included posters and desk cards for GP surgeries and pharmacies.

Phase two, which starts this month, makes available a wide variety of materials, including messaging for websites, media releases, flyers, stickers, pull-up banners, pharmacy bags, plans for a medicine amnesty, and a pack for medicines champions at GP surgeries. Our medicines team is considering which elements of this will be most effective in Thanet.

The medicines waste campaign is running across the whole of east Kent.

2.8 Digital and social media

The CCG continues to use new technologies to better engage and communicate with patients and stakeholders.

As of 29 June, the Health Help Now web app, which launched in December 2013, had 46,342 unique users and had been visited 64,618 times. The downloadable apps, which launched on 9 December 2014, had 3,227 downloads and had been used 5,095 times.

The CCG’s Twitter account @NHSThanetHealth now has 1,888 followers.

3.0 Public affairs and stakeholder management

​3.1 Health overview and scrutiny

We regularly update Kent County Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) on progress. The HOSC oversees the planning, provision and operation of health services under Section 244 of the National Health Service Act 2006 and amendments contained in the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

At the meeting on 5 June, an update was provided on the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust’s Care Quality Commission action plan, outpatients and clinical strategy.

At the next meeting on 17 July, members will be updated on east Kent talking therapy services.

At the meeting on 9 October, we will be presenting an update on our integrated care organisation (ICO).

Clive Hart
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