Our Approach To Engagement

By engaging with the community west Essex CCG seeks to understand the needs, concerns and experiences of residents so it can deliver the best possible health services. We understand that positive health outcomes for the people of Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford can only be achieved if patients and local people remain at the heart of everything we do.

To this end we have published our Public and Patient Engagement Plan. This outlines our recognition that we need to increase this among our local population, in a time and place that suits them.  We have created a Citizen's Group that anyone who lives, works or studies in west Essex is welcome to join, begun a monthly newsletter with opportunities to get involved in all aspects of health and care, and created a dedicated Facebook page.

To ensure we met our duties to represent everyone in west Essex we also have an equalities advisor who works closely with all of us when we look to commission services.  They ensure that we use a variety of different and accessible methods to allow people to hear about our plans and to feed into them.  For details of how we ensure this website is accessible please view our accessibility page.

Below, is what we hope is a useful explanation of the difference between various ways in which we work with the public.

Differences between engagement and consultation

What is engagement?

Engagement is the continuing and on-going process of developing relationships and partnerships so that the voice of local people and partners is heard and that our plans are shared at the earliest possible stages. 

It is also the activity that happens early on in an involvement process, including holding extensive discussions with a wide range of people to develop a strong case for change.

The development of the Citizen's Group is one way in which we can get in touch with local people to help us do this with you earlier.

What is a ‘formal consultation’?

‘Formal consultation’ is the statutory requirement imposed on NHS bodies to consult with overview and scrutiny committees (OSCs), patients, the public and stakeholders when considering a proposal for a substantial development of the health service, or for a substantial variation in the provision of a service.

Formal consultation is carried out if a change is ‘significant’. This is determined where the proposal or plan is likely to have a substantial impact on one or more of the following:

  • Access (eg. reduction or increase in service due to change of location or opening times)
  • Wider community (eg. economic impact, transport, regeneration)
  • Patients or users (either current or future)
  • Service delivery (eg. methods of delivery or relocation of services)

The outcome of a formal consultation must be reported to the Governing Body in public, together with the feedback received, and must show how this has been taken into account in any recommendations and decision making.

When planning big changes to health and social care across west Essex, we will work with the public, Healthwatch Essex and voluntary organisations to seek the views of patients, carers and service users.