Name: Rachael Scoley and Janette Goodchild
Job Title: PR/Communications Manager and Public Engagement Manager
Organisation: Lincolnshire South West Teaching PCT
Telephone: 01529 416000 x6334
Key team: Angie Taylor, Julie Labrum, Sandy Starkess, Chris Gower, Ria Harkess, Paula Marr
Need for change
Low public turnout to annual public meeting in 2002/3.
New way of working including patient and public in decision-making - needed to make public aware of this
Wanted to raise awareness of PCT and its services
Hoped to achieve
increased public attendance
innovative approach to encouraging public to attend
launch of Public involvement strategy and recruit volunteers
Members of the public and staff
An afternoon health event - People are our Purpose was held at a local leisure centre with stalls promoting the services the PCT provides and a range of interactive activities were on offer - including Earsfield LETS volunteers doing hand massage. Free fruit was available and people had the opportunity to cast their vote for the services, which should be our priority. Event was followed by a buffet and then our annual public meeting. The event was publicised via partner organisations, in local newspapers, in GP surgeries, community centres, over 300 people received a personal invite.
Examples of displays include speech and language therapy, health walks, men’s health, podiatry, teaching PCT, TARGET, medicine management, intermediate care, out of hours, first contact, public and patient involvement, PALS, patient choice, substance misuse, smoking cessation, improving working lives, clinical audit.
All staff within the PCT, members of the Board and in particular our non-executive directors, members of our public engagement group, GP practice, PALS, Phoenix Smoking Cessation Service, NHS direct, Earlsfield Community Forum. The event was held and approximately 140 people attended. Feedback has led to the PCT planning more events of this type. Front page coverage in local newspaper on the success of the event.
A database of public volunteers has been developed and is used to recruit volunteers in planning, shaping and evaluating services. We have also successfully advertised the new forums for the public and several volunteers are now on forums in our area.
Different way of working - had to sell idea initially. Overcome by a clear well thought out project plan and sheer determination!
Staff were made more aware of the roles of other teams and were pleasantly surprised by the value of this new approach.
We are now planning three high profile events in 2004 - Lincolnshire and Heckington Shows and our annual public meeting.
We are putting resources into our patient and public involvement approach by appointing a full-time public engagement manager - the first in Lincolnshire! We have also developed our communications manager role to include more public relations and reflected this in her job title.
The Chair of the Strategic Health Authority and one of the non-executive directors were able to attend the event and were impressed by our innovative approach.
Our colleagues in West Lincolnshire plan to take their annual public meeting out of the PCT to the public next year.
The market place idea has been discussed by Peterborough Trust as a positive and inclusive approach and is seen as transferable to other consultation events.