This is the communications and engagement update I presented to NHS Thanet CCG Governing body today.

Sincere thanks to Rob Hustwyte of South East CSU for compiling the 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

Since the last Governing Body meeting in public, Lay Member for Patient and Public Engagement, Clive Hart has continued to promote and encourage public participation in local health matters. Firstly, Clive would like to thank all those associated with staging the recent ‘Listening Event’ at the Global Generation Centre, Westwood. He was very pleased to see such a packed venue and delighted with feedback from attendees that will prove invaluable. Shortly before Christmas, Clive met with Bethesda Patient Participation Group following a request for an update on public engagement regarding the East Kent Delivery Board and the wider Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Plan. He has just completed another three-month session as the East Kent PPE Group Chair and reported matters back directly to the last three full East Kent Delivery Board meetings. Clive also attended a NHS England day conference at Guys Hospital in London covering the public engagement processes and legal matters regarding STP consultation process. In January Clive supported an event to promote the ‘ESTHER’ model of patient involvement at the Learning Centre for Clinical and Social Innovation, Discovery Park, Sandwich. Clive is chair of Thanet Health Reference Group and the February meeting included presentations and discussions with patient group chairs from across Thanet GP practices on NHS information technology in east Kent and ‘Patients Online’. Regular meetings also continue with Healthwatch Kent, Thanet Local Children’s Partnership Group and Thanet Adult Strategic Partnership.

  1. Integrated Accountable Care The integration of health and social care has been acknowledged as the way forward, as the means of delivering better care and improving quality and outcomes for citizens, as well as efficiencies across the system.

The CCG listening event on 21 February was an opportunity for us to share and discuss the progress we are making in developing integrated accountable care locally. Successful local initiatives highlighted as part of the Primary Care Home initiative included the launch of the Acute Response Team and Enhanced Frailty Service. There was general enthusiasm and positive feedback for the CCG’s strategy of developing integrated local care models based around Primary Care Homes, and we were able to demonstrate how Thanet is ahead of the curve in this respect. The slides used at the event are on the east Kent website in the ‘resources’ section

The Thanet core narrative was updated in February 2017 - setting out how and why we are integrating health and care in Thanet, how we are doing it, what has happened where so far and what is planned next, and how local people can get involved. It is available on the CCG website along with the partnership agreement underpinning the development of integrated care in Thanet.

We will add further documents to the page as we develop them so that it is a useful resource for the public, patients and carers, our partners, staff and anyone else who is interested.

The communications team continues to support rollout and awareness-raising of Primary Care Home and IACO projects. Professional and patient leaflets are being developed for the ART service. In January 2017 the CSU’s communication team filmed interviews with ART professionals and patients and a short film is now being edited.

1.3 Transforming health and social care in Kent and Medway

Local people were invited to listening events in February to support the development of plans to improve health and care in east Kent. There was a strong turnout with 80 – 100 people at each event.

Events were hosted by each of east Kent’s four Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs):

  • South Kent Coast event: Wednesday 1 February 2017, 10.00-1.00, Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone

  • Canterbury and Coastal event: Friday 3 February 2017, 10.00-1.00, Canterbury Cricket Club

  • Ashford event: Friday 17 February, 1.00 - 4.00, Julie Rose Stadium, Ashford.

  • Thanet event: Tuesday 21 February, 10.00-1.00, The Global Generation Centre, Margate.

Some 85 local people attended the Thanet event. CCG chairman Dr Tony Martin described the excellent progress being made in developing integrated local care in Thanet through the CCG’s award-winning Primary Car Home initiative. There were presentations explaining the STP – Sustainability and Transformation Plans requested by the government and our progress in Kent and Medway, also Rachel Jones from EKHUFT spoke about the work on progressing the hospital work stream in east Kent.

These events were a great opportunity for people to influence the future as we discussed first-hand the evaluation criteria that will be used to make sure any options or plans developed are robust and will work for each and every community. Everyone had time to ask questions and comment on the developing plans to transform care.

Details of the events will be collated and reported to the East Kent Delivery Board so that the programme can take account of the issues raised. The presentations and a summary of the discussions will be published at

1.4 All age eating disorders service

Service users and carers have been recruited to take part in the formal evaluation of the procurement of a new all-age eating disorder service across Kent and Medway area.

The patient and carer panel continues to support the procurement process. The panel have scored the three bids and members of the panel will be attending the bidders’ presentations due to take place later this month.

1.6 Children and young people’s mental health service

We are working with the other CCGs across Kent to re-procure targeted and specialist mental health services for children and young people. This procurement is being carried out in partnership with Kent County Council in parallel with one another procurement for emotional wellbeing and mental health services for children and young people.

The procurement process is entering its final stages and we expect to be able to announce the successful bidder in early April prior to the new service commencing in the autumn.

Some100 children and young people have designed a ‘standard of care setting out the outcomes they expect when receiving high quality care, and this has been used as part of the procurement.

Now we are working with children and young people to co-produce an interactive tool so in future the CCGs can to evaluate the new service against the standard.

The design phase of the evaluation tool is now complete and is currently being tested with two groups of young people.

1.7 Wheelchairs

Service users have been involved throughout the procurement process for a new wheelchair service across Kent, including finalising the specification, evaluating bids and putting questions directly to presenting bidders. A preferred bidder emerged from the procurement and a report of feedback from the engagement will soon be available on CCG websites.

1.8 Procurement of an integrated out-of-hours services – east Kent area

Over the last year, patient views and experiences have informed a service specification for integrating NHS 111 and urgent out-of-hours medical care, along with care navigation.

We recently concluded the ‘Same Day Service’ survey to understand the benefits and outcomes which patients, carers and the wider public want from an urgent care service. This is the first step in agreeing a patient standard for urgent care which would be used to measure the performance of all urgent care services against patients’ expectations. It will enable us to monitor and evaluate services in a consistent way and improve the delivery of patient care.

We have received 139 responses to the survey, which has been promoted through patient groups and the Thanet Health Network. Of those, 109 left their contact details and expressed interest in future involvement, including six from the Ashford area, 38 from South Kent Coast, 32 from Thanet and 20 from the Canterbury and Coastal area. The remaining 13 did not leave a postcode or address (although they left an email address or phone number). The majority of people responding to the survey were female, aged 60 plus and white British.

Most people had used NHS 111 followed by Ambulance Service/999. Our initial analysis of the qualitative feedback shows that NHS 111 is coming out with negative comments, particularly around communication and calling people back within a specified time. Communication and knowing people’s medical history is also coming up as an issue, along with GP appointments not being available when needed.

The main themes in the feedback are:

• patients wanting to be seen by a professional if necessary

• that staff are clear and understandable when giving me information

• all staff should treat me with dignity and respect

• all treatment is recorded and reflected in my GP records

• staff give clear information on advice and referral.

1.10 East Kent Cancer Work

A new lead commissioner for cancer across east Kent has asked for patient representatives to participate in some of the cancer strategic meetings. We have supported the commissioner in drafting a person specification for the volunteer patient representative, who will be recruited through the Macmillan support groups and networks.

There is a Cancer Alliance event on 7 March. This event will bring together as many key stakeholders across the area to discuss and agree the future direction of the Kent and Medway Cancer Alliance and to discuss initial plans, support structures and key priority areas to address.


Across East Kent, the Children’s Commissioning Team have been given the task of looking at the challenges for families accessing Autistic Spectrum Conditions/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder services.

A focus group and a survey ran before Christmas with families who are accessing Autistic Spectrum Conditions/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder services. There were 62 respondents and the general feedback is there needs to be more support and information for parents and siblings. The most common referral is by schools/nurseries and GPs and the vast majority of families waited for longer than 3 months between referral and assessment, with 40% waiting longer than a year to be seen.

This information from local people will inform the specification for ADHD and ASC screening as part of the new children and young people’s mental health service, which will launches later this year.

1.12 Patient Transport Service

It has been eight months since G4S took over the contract for delivering non-emergency patient transport against the new service specification which was informed by patient and public views and contains the Kent Patients Charter for Patient Transport. Although all of the signs are that the service is doing well, we thought it prudent to check with patients using the service. Therefore, we ran a survey across Kent and Medway involving the Thanet Health Network and our partners in the voluntary sector, to encourage people to tell us of their experience.

The survey was a mixture of questions, some of which were a quick choice of statements that best describe patients’ experience of the Patient Transport Service, and there were also opportunities for patients and carers to make suggestions for improving the service.

The survey ran until the end of January 196 people from across Kent and Medway responded to the survey. Of these, 14 per cent (25 people) are regular users of the service, 23 per cent (42 people) are carers and 14 per cent (24 people) “other” – mainly occasional users of the service or people who were interested for other reasons. Just over half – 51 per cent (93 people) - said they were staff from organisations (such as the hospital trusts) which refer people to the non-emergency Patient Transport Service. A few staff entered themselves under “other” category so the overall proportion of staff was 53 per cent (98 people).

This is a small proportion of the thousands of people who have used the service since it started on 1 July 2016 and the findings need to be seen in this context.

People who responded to the survey were generally positive about the staff providing the patient transport service, and most people had a satisfactory experience of their journey.

However their answers flag up concerns about:

  • the appointment booking system

  • whether eligibility criteria are being explained simply enough

  • transport arriving on time and getting them to and from appointments on time

  • arrangements for people who have very short appointments (and who may experience long waits which could be avoided if ambulances waited for them)

  • arrangements for carers and consistent application of the policy on carer travel

  • overly long journeys

  • knowing how to complain

  • communication by the PTS team.

A full report will go to the programme board on 23 February 2017 for consideration.

1.13 Revitalising the MSLC

We are currently supporting the Maternity Services Liaison Committee to recruit more people to be involved in the work of improving the maternity services and ensuring the voice of parents are heard in the planning of services. If you are interested please contact us on

1.14 Thanet Health Reference Group (HRG)

The HRG met on 01 February 2017, when there was a presentation given by NHS England to explain the Patient Online programme. However it is hoped 10 per cent of registered patients will be using the online services by 31 March 2017. Patient s will be able to make GP appointments online, order repeat prescriptions and access their medical records online.

East Kent Hospitals Trust gave a presentation on the East Kent IT Workstream. This was about clinicians being able to see full patient records and all health organisations using systems which allowed this to happen.

Date of next Health Reference Group meeting

Wednesday 05 April, 10am-12pm, Thanet District Council Offices. At this meeting, there will be a presentation about the Thanet’s IACO and information sharing from the commissioners at the CCG.

2. Spreading the word through the media and other communications

Coverage of the CCG’s work continues to be positive in the local print and broadcast media.

There has been particular interest in the Acute Response Team (ART) pilot, which was launched in November 2016. ART is a multi-disciplinary initiative aimed at providing home and community-based for people who would otherwise be at risk of hospital admission.

BBC health correspondent Hugh Pym visited and reported on the ART as an example of new care models in a national piece on Sustainability and Transformation plans on the BBC national news in December 2016. ART practitioners were also interviewed by BBC Radio Kent as part of a series of features about the local response to winter pressures.

Other recent press releases have promoted the CCG’s listening event on February 21, a survey about the new patient transport service, plus a series of messages aimed at promoting wellbeing and appropriate use of services over the Christmas and New Year period. CCG Tony Martin was interviewed by KMFM encouraging people to drink sensibly over the festive and New Year period.

Many of the stories received a positive response on social media (Twitter) with messages re-tweeted and ‘liked’ by Twitter followers and partner organisations.

All media releases and other communications continue to be shared with partner organisations as we move towards greater integration of care.

The promotion of the Health Help Now website and app continues in both traditional media and social media.

2.1 Urgent care communications

The CCG has a national requirement to produce an system resilience plan. This is to help manage seasonal pressures. We have written a communications plan for 2016/17, as part of the system resilience plan.

A key part of our work to help people understand which service to use is Health Help Now, the mobile optimised website and app for Kent and Medway.

As of 22 February, the Health Help Now web app had been used 271,758 times by people using 226,151 devices (such as smartphones, tablets or computers). Users stay on for just over one minute on average. Forty one per cent of users are aged 18 to 34, 24 per cent are 35 to 44, 17 per cent 45 to 54, 10 per cent 55 to 64, and eight per cent 65 plus. Just over two-thirds of usage is by women.

The downloadable app, which launched on 9 December 2014, had been used 36,113 times and downloaded 17,966 times. People typically stay on for almost three and half minutes and look at 12 screens.

2.2 Patient newsletter

The winter newsletter was published and distributed in early January.

2.3 Digital and social media

The CCG continues to use new technologies to better engage and communicate with patients and stakeholders. There are currently 2,708 Twitter followers of the CCG account @thanethealth. Recent tweets include:

NHS Thanet CCG‏@ThanetHealth 23 hours ago

Great turnout at our listening event - working with the public to shape health and care in #thanet

NHS Thanet CCG‏@ThanetHealth Feb 18

Worried about forgetting your questions for the doctor? Let NHS app, Health Help Now, help you out. Download it today.

NHS Thanet CCG‏@ThanetHealth Feb 15

What’s in your medicine cabinet? Be prepared for many minor illnesses by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home.

NHS Thanet CCG‏@ThanetHealth Feb 9

Help shape the future of heath and care in #Thanet - public event 21 February …

NHS Thanet CCG‏@ThanetHealth Feb 8

If you're a #carer, you can order all repeat prescriptions online … #GPonlineservices

NHS Thanet CCG‏@ThanetHealth Feb 4

Antibiotics are rarely necessary for sore throats or coughs and it is vitally important that they are used only when absolutely necessary

NHS Thanet CCG‏@ThanetHealth Jan 20

Tell us what you think about the new #NHS patient transport service in Kent …


Recent updates to the website include:

  • Social media sharing buttons for news articles

  • Various news articles

From 20 January–20 February the website received approx. 1500 visits.

3. 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 Friday 27 January we provided an update on our CCG Improvement Plan.

3.2 Stakeholder briefings

We provided a briefing to NHS England on Integrated Commissioning of Step up/Step Down short term beds within a care setting.

Clive Hart