NHS Thanet CCG - Communications and Engagement Progress Report - September 2015

(Sincere thanks to Steve James for his work on this report)


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.

  1. Patient and stakeholder engagement

1.1 Since the last Governing Body meeting, Lay Member, Clive Hart has met with fellow CCG Patient and Public Engagement members from across Kent and Medway and is pleased to report all appear to be working to a similar brief / system / process.

He has also continued to meet Thanet GP surgeries respective Patient Participation Groups (PPGs). Further to earlier reported meetings with East Cliff PPG, Westgate PPG and St Peter's PPG, he has now met with Bethesda PPG, Minster PPG and Birchington PPG and continues to be impressed by Thanet patient volunteers passion and commitment.

Another ‘public open’ PPG meeting he attended in Westgate proved to be very popular and Clive was very pleased to witness a clear desire by local residents for preventative solutions to their healthcare needs.

Clive is progressing arrangements to meet with the remaining PPGs across Thanet and has also promoted local PPG’s through the Thanet news press and social media.

The next step is to bring together key representatives from Thanet's PPGs to form a 'reference group' and help to improve two way communication between Thanet PPG's and NHS Thanet CCG. Clive hopes to have an update on that process very soon.

He attended the recent event at Turner Contemporary to discuss stroke and vascular services and is pleased to report the Thanet event was one of the best attended in Kent. The NHS was 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 and Thanet residents offered some very strong views.

In July, Clive chaired a very positive meeting with members of the third sector to discuss better two-way working relationships between the CCG and community/voluntary sector.

He subsequently attended a Thanet Community Support Partnership (TCSP) networking event with Thanet third sector groups and Thanet Adult Strategic Partnership.

Improving working relations with patients groups and the third sector has, and will continue to be a clear priority for Clive and the CCG.

1.2 Reprocurement of out-of-hours services – east Kent area

Over the last year, patients’ views and experience have informed a service specification for integrating NHS111 and urgent out-of-hours medical care. We are planning further engagement with patients about our plans which include using paramedics to support the out-of-hours home visiting service from 2016.

The reprocurement has been paused until the end of September pending further guidance from NHS England.

1.3 Stroke and vascular services reviews

As part of a Kent and Medway wide review of stroke services, a series of 10 listening events were held in July involving 100 patients, staff and voluntary groups. Evaluation of the events show 92 per cent of attendees were ‘very happy’ or ‘happy’ with the event they attended.

They felt ‘welcomed and listened to’ and found the information ‘very interesting and helpful’, saying they felt the information was pitched ‘just right’.

Some people felt that ‘national standards cannot be ignored’ and participants supported the need to aim for excellent standards of care.

Participants supported the need to explore whether establishing centres of excellence could ‘use the workforce available more effectively’ in line with national guidance. I’d rather go further to get expertise’.

Emerging themes:

  • Workforce – the need to address staff shortages and attract high-quality staff was seen as a priority.

  • Travel time – participants recognised the need to balance travel time with the provision of efficient specialist care and good quality outcomes.

  • 24/7 working – concerns were raised in relation to a lack of 24/7 and poor out of hours service. There was a perception that poor outcomes were linked to out of hours presentation.

  • GP Appointments – participants reported that GP appointments were often hard to make.

  • Communication – the need to provide tailored, clear and concise information for both patients and their carers was recognised.

Some events had few participants, but further engagement is underway to ensure more patients and carers can tell us of their experience of current services and how those should be improved:

  • A survey will be used.

  • Telephone interviews.

  • Focus groups will be held with specific communities whose views and needs should be included.

  • Reaching out to those patient and community groups such as the stroke association interested in contributing their views.

  • Capturing patient stories to encourage people to be involved and emphasise the personal impact stroke can have on individuals and their families.

So if there are any groups who like to know more please contact our engagement lead, Kuldeep Dhillon

1.4 Integrated Community Equipment Service

An integrated community equipment service (which is being jointly commissioned by Kent County Council and the Kent CCGs) has now been procured. The new provider will send information about the changeover to people in Thanet who use the service. It will be sent near to the launch date, which is expected to be 1 December. We are working with Kent County Council and our CCG colleagues, and will now work with the new provider, on the communications plan.

1.5 Children and Young People’s Mental Health Service (ChYPS)

We have been working closely with Kent County Council (KCC) on a joint emotional wellbeing and mental health strategy for Kent, drawn up by the Kent clinical commissioning groups working with the council. Young people, their families and other carers were asked for their views on the principles underpinning the new strategy. We are now starting to look at the communications and engagement input that will be required for development of the new service model linked to the strategy and to ensure with young people, their families and carers that we heard their feedback correctly and are incorporating it in our plans.

1.6 Reprocurement of talking therapies

The four east Kent clinical commissioning groups are working together to reprocure talking therapy services, which support patients with mild to moderate anxiety, depression and other common mental health problems.

We have worked with our local Mental Health Action Group, a well-established forum for mental health service users, carers and providers of services, to review the service specification.

Procurement of the new service commenced on 14 July 2015, with contracts due to be awarded in September and the new service to be mobilised by 1 January 2016.

1.7 Wheelchair services

A Kent and Medway wide review of wheelchair services is looking at existing experience of services as well as gathering feedback on potential changes, ahead of re-procurement of the service in 2017. We have sent a survey via the health network to people who use wheelchair services and their carers to ask about their experience of and views on the service they have received? We have extended the deadline for responses to 31 August 2015 to allow more people to respond, please encourage anyone who uses these services to take part as their feedback will be taken into account as we consider recommendations for the service in the future.

1.7.1 Patient Transport service

The procurement is at the ITT stage Patients from across Kent are to be involved in the formal evaluation of the bids in September and October 2015 against the three contracts for the new Service which will replace the current single contract for non- emergency Patient Transport Service. A decision is expected in December 2015.

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.

Recent releases include:

July meeting in public

The governing body of NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will meet in public this month to discuss its priorities for the health of local people.

Have Health Help Now to hand this summer With school finishing for the summer, the NHS is encouraging families to make sure they know how to use the free Health Help Now apps.

2.2 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.

A key part of this for us is Health Help Now, the mobile optimised website and app for Kent and Medway.

  • As of 19 August, the Health Help Now web app had been used 73,747 times by people using 53,993 devices (such as smartphones, tablets or computers). Users stay on for two minutes. Thirty eight per cent of users are aged 18 to 34, 23 per cent are 35 to 44, 17 per cent 45 to 54, 12 per cent 55 to 64, and 10 per cent 65 plus. More women look at the site than men – roughly 66/34.

  • The downloadable app, which launched on 9 December 2014, had been used 7,346 times and downloaded onto 4,879 smartphones or tablets. People typically stay on for just over three minutes and look at eight screens.

We are currently working with colleagues across Kent and Medway to review and refresh the Health Help Now mobile optimised website, based on what people have told us will help to improve the experience of using the site and make it easier to find the information they need. We expect the refreshed site to be available by December.

A pre-31 August bank holiday press release was sent out in anticipation of extra demand on primary care and A&E services in Thanet.

The press release advised people in Broadstairs, Margate, Ramsgate and the villages to be aware that medical services are restricted on bank holidays and to plan accordingly.

There was a strong ‘call to action’ in the release to use the app, Health Help Now and avoid the QEQM A&E unless in an emergency.

The CCG always sends out such releases during peak holiday times (such as Christmas) and bank holidays.

2.3 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 dementia diagnosis rate in Thanet is 48.27 per cent as at March 2015 – a diagnosis rate lower than the other Kent CCGs.

Following the publication of dementia Focus (containing a feature on Dr Venkat Reddy) in the spring, the next stage of the campaign will start in the autumn with the introduction of digital images, leaflets and targeted articles.

The use of Thanet-specific case studies, if possible, would also be useful to urge people to consider the importance of diagnosis.

2.4 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, and a pack for medicines champions at GP surgeries. The 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.

2.5 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 has been distributed in July contained more engagement-orientated news, including introducing the new CCG lay member for public and patient engagement, Clive Hart.

It also had news about the involvement of Thanet patients in development of the patient transport charter.

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, which is currently being put together.

Any stories that cannot be contained within the pages are converted into letters, press releases or online articles. An example of this is the online letter from Dr Tony Martin that focused on the health dangers of excess alcohol consumption.

2.6 Digital and social media

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

The CCG’s Twitter account @NHSThanetHealth now has 1,962 followers.

Here are some recent tweets:

NHS Thanet CCG ‏@ThanetHealth

#Alcohol abuse – a message from Dr Tony Martin: http://ow.ly/QBUGO #NHS #GP #listening

NHS Thanet CCG retweeted

Clive Hart ‏@CliveHart

Just had a very positive meeting regarding online engagement & NHS Thanet CCG. Making progress all the time but always room for improvement.

NHS Thanet CCG ‏@ThanetHealth

"#Mentalhealth...from my past work as a district councillor, I know it's a big issue in #Thanet": http://ow.ly/QsUSk #Summer #Newsletter

East Kent Hospitals ‏@EKHUFT

Our A&E departments are currently very busy. Please consider safe alternatives via @NHSHealthHelp or @NHS111

NHS Thanet CCG ‏@ThanetHealth

New East Kent NHS Stoma Support Service to launch on 1 August. Do you know someone in #Thanet who might benefit?

NHS Thanet CCG ‏@ThanetHealth

Check out the latest #Thanet CCG NHS newsletter! Your health, your NHS, your #Thanet http://ow.ly/PYJF4

NHS Thanet CCG ‏@ThanetHealth

Excellent turnout at @TCMargate to discuss #stroke care and #vascular at listening event. The people's NHS. http://ow.ly/PElaS

NHS Thanet CCG ‏@ThanetHealth

#ThanetCCG says NHS providers face challenges. But CCG will always monitor quality and delivery for Thanet people.

NHS Thanet CCG ‏@ThanetHealth

#ThanetCCG faces challenges but is hitting finance targets. Good news for #Thanet locals. What are your thoughts? #NHS #engaged

3.0 Public affairs and stakeholder management

3.1 Health overview and scrutiny

We regularly update KCC’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.

We regularly update KCC’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 July meeting both the stroke review and NHS England’s review of vascular services were presented to the committee. They were interested and positive in supporting the CCGs to act to address concerns.

The stroke review is returns in September to the Kent HOSC to update on options development prior to them making a decision as to whether this will constitute a significant service change. The Medway Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HASC) has already confirmed this. We will then proceed to a Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JOSC) if both agree.

A written update was also provided on the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Services for the east Kent procurement.

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

3.2 Stakeholder briefings

There have been no requests for MP briefings since the last meeting.

Clive Hart