Health Service Focus

15.06.16

FYFV: Six principles for engaging people and communities

Andrew McCrackenAndrew Mccracken (pictured) from National Voices, the leading coalition of 160 health and care charities, discusses the fundamental importance of engaging people and communities at every level to deliver the FYFV.

Health and care services need a ‘new relationship with patients and communities’ and we have not yet ‘fully harnessed the renewable energy they represent‘.

These are two lines taken form the Five Year Forward View, and they’re great lines.

The Five Year Forward View refers to the need for significant change in health and care services to bridge three emerging gaps: the health and wellbeing gap; the care and quality gap; and the funding and efficiency gap. Each of these is a real and important issue, but we’re missing something, the fourth gap, the gap between healthcare providers and their communities and patients.

All the evidence points the same way: that working in partnership with people and communities leads to better health, better outcomes and better use of money. Whether it is shared decision-making in the GP surgery, multidisciplinary team working in the hospital, or co-designing services with the public, involving people is not a ‘nice to do’, it is a ‘must do’. 

So, if we recognise the fundamental importance of engaging people and communities at every level, how do we go about doing it and doing it well? 

A new report form the People and Communities Board, one of the Five Year Forward View programme boards, can help.  Six principles for engaging people and communities: putting them into practice offers local leaders a practical steer for developing the ‘new relationship with people and communities’ set out in the Five Year Forward View. 

The six principles for engaging people and communities

  • Care and support is person-centred: personalised, coordinated, and empowering
  • Services are created in partnership with citizens and communities
  • Focus is on equality and narrowing inequality
  • Carers are identified, supported and involved
  • Voluntary, community and social enterprise, and housing sectors are involved as key partners and enablers
  • Volunteering and social action are key enablers

The principles are not a checklist or official guidance. They don’t require a steering group or committee to implement. They are designed to help. The document will be received by people working at full tilt in a system under great pressure.  These principles, and the supporting information, are designed to inspire, reassure and offer practical support.

I believe these principles will be useful for anyone engaged in transforming health and care – including STP leads, local authorities, CCGs, NHS Trusts, GP surgeries, frontline staff, and the voluntary and community sector.

Building a new relationship with people and communities can help to bridge the three gaps set out in the Five Year Forward View. Engagement and involvement is no longer something organisations can delegate to their ‘patient engagement lead’; this is core business.

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Comments

Mmcc   06/07/2016 at 13:05

I agree wholeheartedly with all of those guiding principles. There are a further two which I'd suggest are equally as important and without which there's a limit to the development of trust and true engagement: (i) Honesty about the challenges facing health & social care systems (not just money but key issues such as recruitment & retention); and sometimes that means sharing the evidence about the impact of those challenges; (ii) Developing services for the future includes the need to be more transparent about the resources available, and the art of participatory resource modelling.

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