Volunteers who helped develop NHS services in Lancashire have been commended for their role.
The People’s Panel was launched by NHS Fylde and Wyre clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) last year to give patients a direct say on services.
The volunteers hold monthly meetings at the CCG’s headquarters in Wesham to hear about plans for new services and give their input into plans.
The CCG uses their suggestions and comments to develop services it offers to the 152,000 patients under its care.
Volunteers helped validate the CCG’s Equality Delivery System grading and looked at ways to improve campaigns to encourage self care and antibiotics awareness.
The group of 19 volunteers suggested using some of the characters and branding from the CCG’s joint Think Why A and E campaign with Blackpool CCG and Blackpool teaching hospitals.
Their suggestions led to the CCG redesigning some leaflets to give their campaign more impact.
They have also looked at the CCG’s falls pathway to help prevent patients ending up in hospital after a fall.
They also rejected the name Integrated Neighbourhood Teams and suggested Neighbourhood Care Teams would be a clearer title.
The CCG took their idea on board.
They are also working on the planned launch of a pharmacy scheme and have contributed suggestions to the CCG’s website to make sure information is “relevant” to patients.
At the end of the panel’s first full year they were presented with certificates from the CCG’s chief nurse Jennifer Aldridge and the governing body’s lay member for engagement Kevin Toole.
Aldridge said: “ We need our services to be right for our patients, so who better to ask than a group of our local patients themselves? There have been some real contributions to local health services by this dedicated group of people who come to us once a month in their own time and at their own cost.”
Blackpool based community interest company UR Potential ran the pilot scheme for the CCG.
A new panel of 35 has just been recruited, which includes some of the original 19 people.
Pic : From left: Linda Markey, UR Potential, Lyndsey Shorrock, Tracy Riddick and Kevin Toole, NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG, with volunteers from the People’s Panel holding their certificates. Far right is Jennifer Aldridge, chief nurse at Fylde and Wyre CCG.