How We Use Your Views

Below are three examples of where patient input has directly influenced either a service or the way we work.

Audiology

The people responsible for making plans, designing services, buying and monitoring services are called ‘commissioners’.

Recently one of our commissioners was putting together a service specification for the assessment and fitting of hearing aids. She identified patients with experience of this service through the ‘Hard of Hearing Forum’.

By meeting with this group of people the commissioner was able to understand what would improve the quality of this service from the patients’ perspective. This included the need for all assessments and fittings to take place in a room free from environmental noise such as other people, piped music etc.

These suggestions were written into the contract issued to suppliers of the service and will form part of the ongoing monitoring to ensure they happen.

The way we work

One patient told us very clearly that while it was commendable that the CCG wanted to involve patients in the planning of services:

“The commissioning process was not slowing down sufficiently to take account of the service users’ needs”

Instead of allowing patients to influence our plans, we were involving them so late in the process that they felt their input was unable to have any real value.

We have considered this comment and discussed it with other patient and voluntary groups. As a result we are currently starting our planning for 2014/15 earlier in the annual cycle than we have ever done before. We are beginning with a series of focus groups in a wide variety of communities, the outcome of which will be considered alongside the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA), which is the story of Shropshire and a picture of the population and its needs.

Equality and diversity

At a public event last year hosted by local NHS services, patients told us that we are too focused on bringing about improvement through procedures and processes when from their perspective sometimes the change needed is a cultural one. This was particularly true when dealing with issues related to equality and diversity.

We are currently working with a range of groups and members of the public to deliver a programme for staff in the health and social care services that will challenge staff to think about how they address the needs of those who have the potential to experience inequality. This includes the visually impaired, young carers and different faith groups to name just a few.