Our approach to engagement

The Vale of York CCG is committed to ensuring that patients’ needs are at the heart of everything we do. In order to ensure that we reflect our population we aim to have effective patient, carer and public involvement embedded in our work and in our planning processes.

We follow a set of guidance issued by NHS England which outlines best practice for enabling people to voice their views, needs and wishes, and to contribute to plans, proposals and decisions about services.

On this page find out about:


Our engagement principles

The CCG’s engagement work is built upon strong foundations.

We have a set of engagement principles based on our core values. As part of this we strive to:

  • Hold open, clear informed and collaborative conversations
  • Ensure engagement is core to our planning, prioritising and commissioning activities
  • Develop innovative and interactive approaches to holding engagement conversations
  • Seek and listen to views of our partners, patients, carers and local citizens
  • Be honest and transparent in offering opportunities and discussing constraints and challenges to the delivery of services

These principles are the foundation of our engagement strategy ‘Involving Local Communities 2016-19’ - pages 6-7. This document sets out our intentions for ways in which we aim to involve our stakeholders and local population.  Engagement is a vital part of our goal to achieving our strategic initiatives and delivering the best health and wellbeing within the resources available.

Review of our engagement principles

We are currently reviewing our engagement principles as part of our refresh of our engagement and communications strategy.

Initial feedback received: November 2018 – January 2019

  • Key stakeholders: VCSE organisations such as Selby AVS and York CVS, Healthwatch York and North Yorkshire, Older People Advocacy York (OCAY), York Carers Centre, York College.
  • Public: Website and comms workshop (29 January 2019) and Healthwatch Assembly (22 January 2019). Drop-in at West Offices (second Monday of the month).
  • Governing Body GPs and Accountable Officer

Workshop 22 and 29 January 2019:

What our population has told us about these principles:

  • Build trust and relationships. Have a more partnership approach
  • Regular communication: around changes that are taking place – don’t stop after consultation. Provide evidence that we have listened, responded and taken their views into account
  • Allow enough time for people to feedback – otherwise it feels tokenistic. Important that people can see the results. Think about where, when and how are we going to feedback.
  • Language is important: We need to create an easy read version of the principles.
  • Honesty: We need to be honest with what can be done within budget
  • Reach out into the community: Go out to people rather than expecting them to come to you. Ensure you gather a wide and diverse sample.
  • Be inclusive and accessible: Consider how you access people who are socially isolated, or who are not represented by existing groups – eg homelessness/financial hardship, people with MH conditions
  • Listening, feedback, openness and transparency need to be added
  • All principles are important, but we need to ensure how they are implemented and adhered to.

We will be using this feedback to refresh our core engagement principles as part of the new strategy.

Next stages: Develop strategy based on feedback and publish first draft for public consultation (March/April 2019).


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The engagement commissioning cycle:

We are dedicated to engaging with local communities within all aspect of the commissioning engagement cycle. This is outlined in engagement strategy ‘Involving Local Communities 2016-19’ . Examples of how we involve our population through all staged of the commissioning cycle can be found below.

Through the ‘analyse and plan’ stage we:

  • Work with communities in identifying local health needs
  • Engage patients, carers and public in shaping future priorities
  • Encourage service uses and their families to share experiences to better inform our planning

Examples of this include:

  • In 2018 we attended over 70 events and meetings where we gathered feedback and intelligence from our population. This has been used to feed into the latest commissioning intentions (our priorities for 2019/20). During the peak, as part of NHS 70 celebrations, we organised a number events with our local communities, health partners, local authorities and voluntary sector which focused on acknowledging the great work of the NHS, whilst raising awareness for and asking people about key priorities. Click here to view our engagement as part of NHS 70.
  • We asked expectant and new mums and families about their experience of perinatal mental health services. This feedback was used as part of the bid to secure funding, and the design of a new community perinatal mental health service in 2018. More infromation can be found in our press release about the new service.
  • Through our big conversations in 2017 we held over 40 big conversation events to ask asked local people: “what is important to you about local healthcare services? Collecting these views at the draft planning stage has proved essential in developing our commissioning intentions and setting our priorities for 2018-19.

Through the design and improve stage when buying services we:

  • Engage local people, providers and patients in service design and improvement.
  • Support patients, carers and the public to be involved in the procurement and contracting of new services.

Examples of this include:

  • In July 2018 a new contract was awarded for non-emergency patient transport services in the Vale of York and Scarborough & Ryedale. In order to provide the best possible service, during 2017 the CCGs asked patients and members of the public what type of service they require; asked hospital and healthcare staff what the service should look like; and consulted other organisations to determine what the best systems can do now.  We produced an engagement report to show the breadth of engagement we undertook and in 2018 we were able to produce a you sadd, we did booklet to illustrate wehre we made changed to the new service based on what our population had told us. 
  • Working in partnership with the mental health service provider (TEWV) to involve patients and the public in the designs and development of a new mental health hospital for York.
  • Service user involvement in the design of the specification for the re-procurement of the Community Equipment and Wheelchair services contract. We worked closely with local Healthwatch and set up a service user forum to help facilitate and feed into the transition between old and new provider, and to ensure that service user feedback was acted upon.
  • We understand that end of life care, also known as palliative care, may not be an easy topic to think or talk about. That is why we are working with our partners to create an end of life care strategy and Citizen’s Charter that aims to improve and further develop end of life care and support services. We went out to our local population to ask them theri views. Find out our diverse methods of enagement and how this will impact the strategy and future service priorities.

Through the monitoring, learning and assurance phase we:

  • Include patient experience and feedback in our contracts
  • Give patients a voice in on-going monitoring of provider performance
  • Share feedback with partners to help them continually improve

Examples of this include:

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How we involve our patients and public in engagement

A range of inclusive approaches and methods of engagement

We use a variety of mechanisms to involve the local population and gather feedback, to ensure that we can capture a wide range of views and opinions. Evidence of the number of public facing meetings and sessions we hold can be seen on our events page.

  • Focus groups
  • Informal discussions
  • Formal consultations
  • Public meetings
  • Regular stakeholder newsletters
  • Social media
  • Videos
  • Surveys – online, paper, through networks
  • Through media channels
  • Meetings with voluntary groups, Healthwatch and our stakeholder networks
  • Taking conversations into the community (on a bus!)

How we provide information in formats appropriate for our diverse community.

Examples include:

GP extended access:

As part of the national requirement to increase the access to GP services across England and Wales by providing evening (6:30pm - 8:00pm) and weekend appointments, we needed to gather the views of our local population. In February and April 2018 we used a number of diverse methods to give our patients and public the opportunity to think about their needs are and then tell us how they would like the service to be delivered.

  • Survey – online, paper copies distributed to GP surveys and voluntary groups
  • Easy read version, created by People First York
  • Face-to-face sessions in GP surgeries, local council building
  • Leafleting at local railways stations (to hear the voice of the commuter and working adult who may be more likely to use evening and weekend GP appointments)
  • Article in the local press
  • Stakeholder newsletter
  • Stall at a student freshers fair at York College
  • Through voluntary groups, our carers network and Healthwatch.

These views were fed into the development of the service specification around the times of appointments and what specific surgeries needed to be available out of core hours. More infromation and evidence can be found here.


End of life care strategy: Face-to-face sessions with service users

We are currently developing a new end of life care stately for the Vale of York. As part of this we wanted to gather as many views as possible to help inform the vision for delivering end of life care services within the Vale of York. To ensure that we captured the views of all those involved in palliative care we held engagement sessions with clinicians, volunteers, carers and the public, as well as visiting service users in the local hospice. Find out more here.

Working with our local CVS Learning Difficulties (LD) forum:

We regularly attend a Learning Difficulties (LD) forum, where attendees raised a number of concerns around barriers to accessing health care and health checks within the LD community and wanted more information about women’s health.

Working in collaboration with the learning disability (LD) community, a GP and nurse from the Vale of York CCG attended an informative session at the Learning Disability Forum (LDF) CVS as part of a question and answer session around screening, women’s health and what stops people from going to see their GP. We listened to your feedback and have been working on an action plan to address these concerns. As a result two new LD nurses will be working within York in 2019 to help support patients with a learning disability and increase uptake of health checks. More infromation can be found here.


Co-production events for developing mental health and learning disability services

An example of our conversations with local stakeholders was the DISCOVER programme which asked the community ‘what do good mental health and learning disability services look like?’ DISCOVER led to the co-production of a service specification for the mental health and learning disability services contract for the Vale of York, allowing us to commission innovative care and treatment that local stakeholders said they wanted.


Commissioning maze: interactive event to improve understanding about the complexities of commissioning

In another, novel approach to gaining stakeholder views, we handed the commissioning reins over to the public.  Our ‘Be the commissioner’ event was a simplified version of the commissioning process but it gave participants the chance to play the role of the CCG and make healthcare commissioning decisions. The feedback provided us with an alternative, deeper insight into the views of local people.


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