As an organisation, we are proud to say we are “clinically led” and praised by our local NHS England colleagues for visibly being so.
That’s not simply a phrase we use. It’s central to what we’re about and how we do things. It means that our aims and priorities are driven by local family doctors and other clinicians, rooted in their own local communities across East Leicestershire and Rutland. Clinicians are in the majority in our decision makers.
These people are respected and trusted by local people and their families to have their best interests at heart and deeply committed to helping them get healthy and stay healthy. Or when they fall ill, to make sure they get the very best treatment and care possible, in the right place at the right time, and delivered with compassion and respect.
Clinically-led engagement is all about harnessing that respect and trust and placing it at the heart of NHS decision-making and local strategies. We listen and learn using a wide variety of methods and channels. Then we collate what we hear and our clinical leaders, supported by our internal staff, decide how we should take action on what we have heard.
We support clinically-led engagement because it’s the right thing to do in principle. But it also happens to be the best way in practice to engage local people and communities in local change and improvement. It’s what they want and prefer. And it gives the greatest guarantee of ultimate success.
A recent study by the NHS Confederation and YouGov asked people – ‘What would persuade you to support changes in your local NHS services?” The top 2 answers were:
- Evidence it will improve care; and
- Support from local health/care staff.
These 2 factors were more important either than evidence it would save money or general communication or generic public engagement from and by the NHS.
Our clinical leaders therefore play a vital and visible leadership role in our engagement activities and processes.
We’re proud of our record to date in carrying out innovative clinically-led engagement. But we’re always looking for ways to get better.
We have major challenges and innovations we wish to bring forward in the coming year in primary care and community services.
We are also entering our third year of deciding and delivering our overall commissioning priorities.
We believe it’s crucially important to have clinically-led engagement at the heart of how we take this forward and just as important not just to do it – but to be seen to have done it.
We will, for example. be making much more use of web and video to raise the profile of our clinical leaders and explain the crucial leadership role they play in our organisation and its strategies.