Involving local people
Lewisham has a diverse population and we ensure that we are engaging with all of our communities.
The CCG engages with a wide range of charity, faith and community groups including those working with people who are homeless, those working with refugees and migrants, those working with people with a disability, and a network for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
During 2017/2018 we carried out well over 100 engagement activities, reaching more than 2,000 people, including at the Phoenix Festival in May 2017, the Our Healthier Lewisham event in June, Lewisham's People's Day in July 2017, our Annual General Meeting in September 2017 and in many meetings with local voluntary and community groups throughout the year.
During the year we strengthened our Public Reference Group, whose role includes:
- Ensuring that public engagement is integrated into the commissioning process
- Acting as a 'mediating voice' between the public and the CCG
- Supporting the CGG in engaging and communicating more widely with the public to gather their views, and to inform the public of the challenges facing the NHS and any proposed changes to services.
In 2017/18 we engaged extensively with local people about proposed changes to prescribing. The proposals included to no longer support the routine prescribing of a range of self-care medicines which are available over the counter in pharmacies and to no longer prescribe malaria prevention medicines on an NHS prescription. During the public consultation, which ran from August to October 2017, we shared information widely across the borough including in GP practices, pharmacies, faith groups, voluntary and community organisations. Following our Governing Body's decision to go ahead with the proposals we used the feedback to develop campaigns to inform people about self-care, our Pharmacy First scheme, and we worked with the West African community to develop information about malaria prevention.
We consulted with our patients, the public and stakeholders on the future of the NHS Walk-in Centre at the Waldron Health Centre, New Cross and proposals to improve access to primary care in Lewisham. During the 12 week formal consultation from August to October 2017, we conducted 40 face to face outreach activities.
These included providing drop-in sessions at the Waldron Health Centre and meetings with homeless charities, community development groups, community hubs, children's centres, parents' forums, patient participation groups, faith groups, local ward assemblies and students. The consultation also included a survey that was completed by 1,768 people.
We identified through our Equalities Impact Assessment that people not registered with a GP would not be able to access the alternative service. During the consultation concerns were also expressed by politicians, residents, homeless charities, GP practices, and faith groups about the impact of the proposed closure on vulnerable and homeless people who may not be registered with a GP. See here how we responded to these concerns.
Supporting patient groups
We support the development of neighbourhood patient participation groups (PPGs) for our GP practices. PPGs are made up of patient representatives from each practice.
During 2016/2017, we held eight neighbourhood PPG Events, covering how practices will collaborate across neighbourhoods, primary care extended access and digital innovation.
Engaging about GP services
During 2016/2017 we engaged widely to obtain local views of experiences using GP services in Lewisham and their views on plans to deliver a new service offering extended access to appointments (8am to 8pm, seven days a week) in the borough.
During February and March 2017 we commissioned Healthwatch Lewisham to run five focus groups. In addition we ran sessions on this topic in a range of community groups and events. This work has informed the on-going development and the delivery of an extended access service from 1 April 2017. It has also built awareness among patients and the public on primary care access and gathered views on the information people need to support them to find their way around these services.
This engagement also succeeded in forging links with groups we had not previously reached, for example: Lewisham Islamic Centre women's group, Downham Men's Health Group and the Lewisham Young Mothers Group. It has also built upon links to Lewisham's Young Advisors.