Make your NHS engagement count – part one
Major plans for health and social care have now been published for the whole of England. Controversially, they had no input from patients or public – so putting that right has to be the next step.
We’re talking about the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) produced for 44 different parts of the country, setting out how NHS and social care services are going to meet the twin pressures of rising demand and limited budgets.
Although they are proposals and will almost certainly be subject to some public consultation, they were still perceived as a ‘done deal’.
Talk at a local level has been of possible hospital closures, cuts and potential redundancies, because the opportunity to prepare the public for big changes to local services wasn’t possible.
Now the plans are here and in the public domain, there is the opportunity to involve the public by getting their views and further shaping the proposals.
Each STP is unique and complex, incorporating many changes to the health and social care landscape. They will affect people from all walks of life, of all ages and in all states of health.
Because of this there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ engagement plan. A number of different approaches can be used to make your engagement count.
This applies to any engagement programme, of course. At Arch Communications, because of our experience in this field, we know that what works for one group of people won’t work for another.
Since STPs are plans for the whole care system, there is the added need for different agencies to work together in partnership more closely than ever before. All the more reason why it’s essential to ensure there is consistency of message – and of the facts.
When it’s done well, public engagement provides a huge benefit to the organisations involved. It offers people the chance to give opinions, make suggestions and raise issues based on their own experiences.
That is how services can be shaped to truly meet people’s needs.