At DDES CCG we want to ensure that we feedback on our engagement outcomes.
The projects shown below demonstrate how the conversations with patients, carers and other stakeholders have helped to shape the services.
Engagement with patients around stroke services took place over August to October 2017.
The aim of the engagement was to understand what services and information patients received on discharge from hospital.
Packs including a letter, a questionnaire and a freepost envelope were sent to patients via their GP practice. The questionnaire was also available online via survey monkey https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Strokecountydurham, which closed on October 12th 2017.
The CCG worked in partnership with Healthwatch who also organised one-to-one appointment sessions across Barnard Castle, Stanhope, Chester-le-Street, Stanley, Peterlee and Tudhoe.
The Engagement Teams of Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield and North Durham CCGs attended stroke groups to have face-to-face conversations with stroke survivors. These groups were attended by people who had experienced a stroke over a year ago and some as many as fifteen years ago.
The questionnaire and the above appointment sessions were also communicated via our social media platforms and Healthwatch. A total of 155 patients and or carers responded to the survey.
The full engagement findings were written into a report by Healthwatch and the CCG detailing recommendations for the future service. All of these recommendations were accepted by the CCG Executives and were implemented in March 2018.
Patients who were involved in the engagement were sent a thank you letter and a short explanation of the results of their feedback. They were also given the option to have a full report sent out to their home address.
The full Healthwatch and CCG report is available: Research into patient access to stroke support services in County Durham
Mental Health Crisis Service
As part of the review into the Mental Health Crisis Service and Home Treatment, engagement was an integral part of this process. The conversations with patients and carers focused on understanding their experiences.
An online survey was created along with a paper version and this was shared widely via groups and social media. The team went along to meetings such as the County wide mental health forum, Cree Groups and also Home Group Happy clubs for people to experience physical activity.
All key points were gathered, including 26 surveys. These findings will be included into a wider report which also covers feedback from Mental Health Crisis Service staff and service managers, GPs and other professional groups.
In early 2018, Dementia Services were reviewed by the CCG and included feedback from patients, carers and their families.
We talked to dementia patients and carers at local dementia arts projects, memory cafés, dementia cafés, relevant groups involved with Beamish museum, the Alzheimer’s’ Society and others.
An online version of the survey was developed to make it easier for relatives and family carers to respond. The survey was also sent to local patient groups, health networks, Durham Dementia Action Alliance (DDAA) and the Area Action Partnerships across the County.
A summary engagement report was made available to groups who had participated and through the DDAA network. The report outlines the outcomes of the discussions and how these have been included in the decision-making process. The comments and suggestions showed what type of support and personal outcomes were most important for people. This information was given to the Commissioning Team to help with their decisions.
In line with guidance from NICE in November 2017, County Durham patients were transferred to local community-based services to receive their routine monitoring appointments. To help this
These conversations helped to understand patients’ concerns. They were kept informed about accessibility of services now and in the future, whom to contact if they had a query and confirmation that they would still receive good clinical care closer to home.
Community Services are local services eg: district nurses, physiotherapy, diabetes services etc. These services were review during September 2017 and involved patients and NHS staff. The aim of this was to understand how care in the future could be improved to meet patients’ needs. The engagement targeted Patients, their carers, GPs, Practice nurses, a wide range of community services staff (Community nurses, District nurses, Vulnerable Adults Wrap Around Service etc).
The CCGs, Community Services staff and practice nurses worked together to reach individual teams across their local area. The engagement also benefitted from the support of Community Services staff who spoke directly with their patients and gathered the views of friends, relatives and family carers.
The summary engagement report was also published on the CCGs’ websites as part of the regular updates about the progress of this project. The same report was also fed into the County Durham Integration Steering Board as part of the work that is being developed to help shape future Health and Social Care services.
Annual Health Checks for patients with learning disabilities
People with learning disabilities often have difficulty in recognising illness, communicating their needs and using health services.
The County Durham CCGs worked in partnership with Durham County Council and Healthwatch County Durham to better understand the problems experienced by people with learning disabilities at their annual health checks.
The aim of the work was to encourage more people with learning disabilities to attend free annual health-checks.
Healthwatch County Durham (HWCD) spoke to 100 people with a learning disability and discovered there was a problem with the invitation letter.
Durham County Council’s People’s Parliament developed an ‘easy invite’ that was sent to all people with a learning disability in County Durham. The aim was for the letter to be an easy reading format so people can read it unaided and so reduce anxiety around annual health checks.
The aim of the letter was to encourage more people with a learning disability to be on their GP learning disability register. Registration also means more help is available to them.
Following the Healthwatch County Durham recommendations, Shinwell Medical Group are piloting health checks in a community setting. People aged 14 and over who have been assessed as having moderate, severe or profound learning disabilities, or people with a mild learning disability who have other complex health needs, are entitled to the free health check.
Health checks involve a general physical examination, including:
- checking their weight, heart rate,
- blood pressure and taking blood and urine samples;
- asking questions about their lifestyle and mental health;
- a check for epilepsy;
- a check on their prescribed medication;
- a check on whether any chronic illnesses, such as asthma or diabetes, are being well managed;
- a review of any arrangements with other health professionals, such as physiotherapists, speech therapists, dieticians or other specialists.
It is also a good time to check they are up to date with immunisations, the flu vaccine and any screening tests for cancer.