Notting CCG_wA new strategy for the four years to 2020 was developed as part of Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) planning for commissioning health services. The strategy had three main ambitions:

  • Increase the number of years that people in Nottingham live in good health.
  • Reduce the health inequalities experienced between different areas in the city.
  • Empower people in Nottingham to improve their own health.

To support the development of the new strategy, a programme of engagement was conducted with stakeholders, partners, patients and the public to ensure the priorities agreed were appropriate and reflective of the health needs in Nottingham City. The engagement sought to understand the communities’ healthcare priorities, their response to the draft strategy and their views on how the strategy could be delivered. We supported the engagement programme, which included online and offline activities.

It was important that the engagement targeted communities particularly affected by any potential changes to the health strategy so facilitated groups were conducted with carers, those with mental health issues, older people, families with young children and disabled people. Groups were also conducted with communities who may have specific issues when accessing and receiving healthcare, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, homeless people, asylum seekers and refugees, BME communities and students. Intermediaries were used (typically third sector organisations) to help set up the groups. Facilitation of the groups required more planning than standard group discussions – desk research was conducted in advance of the groups to identify likely health issues and the design of content was tailored for each group (for example, using easy read materials where appropriate). Care was also taken to use language appropriate for each group, for example considering any possible sensitivities for transgender people, including the use of gender neutral language.

A toolkit was also developed that allowed other partners and stakeholders to run their own engagement events. For example, a third sector organisation working with deaf people elected to run their own events as they had the necessary expertise to engage with this community.

The CCG also had a stand at six community events run by the local council. This activity aimed to reach communities who don’t typically respond to online surveys. Most events were held in deprived areas. Local residents were encouraged to talk to the CCG by offering activities for the children to do whilst the adults were talking.

Click here to read the set of full reports but, in summary, there was a call for greater focus on the following areas:

  • Improved access to GP services.
  • Encouraging prevention and self-care by providing better information and support.
  • Widening and promoting alternative access points.
  • More inclusive and empathetic services.
  • Improved access to mental health.

What do you think? Have you employed ways to bring the voices of your vulnerable audiences into your research and consultation? See our 11 tips on engaging with vulnerable audiences.

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