Our Community members
Across Tees Valley, we have a well-established engagement structure including a variety of community members. We utilise different engagement approaches depending on the needs of the local populations that we serve, in each of the local authority areas that we cover – Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Redcar and Cleveland.
The aim is to develop meaningful, diverse and continuous forms of engagement with our communities, including:
- Members of the public
- Seldom-heard groups (examples listed below)
There are a number of ways through which our communities can influence the way local health services operate:
GGP practices provide a mechanism for gathering patients’ views through Patient Participation Groups (PPGs). Most of our practices have their own PPG, comprising both virtual and / or physical groups. Most PPGs comprise of patients and practice members of staff and meet regularly to discuss issues and concerns about the services and facilities offered by the practice to its patients.
Voluntary and community sector organisations and groups
There are numerous local organisations who work with us to help connect patients, carers and families to our work.
Working across Health and Social Care issues, Healthwatch organisations provide a way for local people to communicate, challenge and shape the decisions or commissioners and service providers in health and social care. Visit the ‘Local Healthwatch’ section of our ‘Other Engagement Opportunities‘ page to find out more.
We are particularly aware that we need to build and maintain ongoing relationships with a wide range of diverse communities within our area, especially marginalised and vulnerable groups that may experience the greatest health challenges.
These may include:
- Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) communities
- Homeless people
- Children and young people
- Anyone who has been or is being affected by any form of abuse (physical, sexual, financial, emotional)
- Asylum seekers and refugees
- Pregnant ladies or those on leave
- Gypsy Romany Travellers
- People with physical and/or learning disabilities
- People who suffer from mental health problems
- People who live in rural areas
- Other people or communities who may have particular needs when it comes to participating
To ensure that we engage with these groups in the most effective and appropriate way, we utilise a number of different approaches:
- Developing strong links with community representatives and voluntary sector organisations that have direct access to specific groups and communities. By relying on a ‘trusted person’, it is easier to make contacts, build rapport and work together on a regular basis.
- Using different formats (where possible) such as alternative languages, easy read, large print, British Sign Language (BSL) and others, to make our messages more accessible.
- Taking part in existing forums and networks and providing people with an opportunity to contribute to discussions within our own forums.
- Providing evidence that feedback has made a difference, in order to encourage people to take part again in future.
Pharmacists play an integral part in primary care. We work closely with patients so that they understand what is on offer to them to help them get better and to keep them well. A community pharmacy can offer a wealth of advice without patients even needing to visit their GP.
Health and Wellbeing Board
Health and Wellbeing Boards were established under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to act as a forum to bring together the NHS, Public Health, Adult Social Care and Children’s Services. Health and Wellbeing Boards are hosted by local authorities and plan how best to meet the needs of the local population and tackle health inequalities.
We also work closely with the North of England Commissioning Support Unit (NECS), neighbouring CCGs, NHS Trusts and other service providers, the Local Medical Committee, local councillors and local Members of Parliament.