I have recently been doing the monumental task of looking through each of the 211 new clinical commissioning groups (these replaced Primary Care Trusts) websites. Clinical Commissioning Groups are a flagship health policy of the Coalition, giving spending control of 60% of the NHS budget to groups of practitioners – notably General Practitioners or GPs. They have been told to be transparent, and must hold at least one public meeting per year. They went live in April this year after a one year shadow phase.
So you want to know what your local clinical commissioning group is doing? What characteristics do these websites have?
- They all tell you who the Board members are…but few give any possible way to contact them. Many do provide a secretariat email and phone number and how to submit questions at the meeting.
- Some are acting as groups and when you try to find out who is responsible for engagement, they tell you they outsource this…sadly the people they signpost you to tell you that this is NOT part of their contract
- Some have a social media presence but many don’t even have an obvious email address but instead you have to use a web contact form – maybe it’s just me, but I hate those. Plus my email address has an unusual but valid ending and these forms won’t accept it
- Many have a lot of empty sections
- Most signpost the public to PALs and Healthwatch
- Most have a survey
- All give Freedom of Information details
- Many phone numbers are based in other health settings and receptionists sometimes struggle to put you through to the CCG itself
- Some have really great newsletters
- Some have lovely videos introducing themselves
The very best examples I found so far were in Birmingham, with commitments to live streaming meetings, blogs and really good social media presences. A strong example was also found in Cannock Chase with a CCG TV page. Stafford and Surrounds also have their own CCG TV page. I also liked Dr Vicky Playdell (Chief Clinical Officer – Hambleton, Richmondshire & Whitby CCG) blog – Vicky’s Voice
I found the London area CCG’s the most difficult to find information on the whole – although, if you have any examples I might have missed please let me know and I will happily update this post.
There is a lot of work to be done, unless engagement means turning up to watch a board meeting or filling in a survey where someone else has decided what they want you to talk about.
Courtesy of Emma Daniel at Huxley06