Last year NHS England published revised guidance on Patient and Public Participation in Commissioning Health and Care.

Setting out ten key actions expected of Clinical Commissioning Groups, and the links to the guidance on feedback and reporting how the CCG has involved patients and the public in commissioning and the impact this has had.

Subsequently NHS England has assessed all CCGs on involving patient and public as part of its statutory annual assessment of CCG performance.

I am very pleased to learn that our first assessment has rated Thanet CCG as Good, across the 5 domains and criteria used. There is now a period of challenge allowed, and the full list of CCGs and their scores will be published in March 2018 on the My NHS website as part of the suite of CCG IAF indicators.

This is good news for Thanet CCG staff who know to take on board the need to involve patients and the public in the design of services, but I’d like to thank all those who helped to inform us on major decisions affecting the provision of local health services in 2017.

In my role of championing the patient and public voice, I am extremely lucky to be supported in so many innovative ways by so many different local organisations and individuals.

Firstly, the 800+ members of our Thanet Health Network are a huge support group in our communications and engagement process. Whether members choose to simply read our communications for their own information or whether they respond to our surveys and calls for experiences and further involvement on particular matters, I’d like to thank them sincerely for their continued support.

Every two months, we also bring together the leaders of Patient Participation Groups from GP Practices right across Thanet, along with local Healthwatch representation to discuss pertinent issues and share best practice. It's a two way process and our Thanet Health Reference Group has gone from strength to strength in 2017. As its chair I’m very grateful to all concerned for all the time and effort that this particular band of volunteers have given both to us as a CCG and to the people of Thanet as a whole in 2017.

Indeed, here in Thanet we have an incredibly strong network of voluntary and community organisations and the sterling work they do, often behind the scenes, provides the most incredible backbone for many of our statutory public services - including health. We try hard to reach as many organisations as is possible to gain their views, so I would particularly like to thank Thanet Adult Strategic Partnership for providing linkages to the numerous organisations supporting our senior population and to Thanet Local Children’s Partnership Group for helping us with issues that particularly affect the younger population and their families.

Last but far from least, I'd like to give a special thank you to all those local people who have attended our public listening events and 'Esther Cafe' patient involvement groups. I know your time is valuable and thank you sincerely for sharing it with us.

2018 will bring increasing challenges for the NHS and I am absolutely determined we will continue to listen and respond to the strong voice of local people here in Thanet.

Happy New Year!

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Clive Hart