Coalfields Forum Minutes March 2015


The minutes were accepted as a true record. It was noted that there seemed to be a lot more happening with Healthwatch.

PATIENT ENGAGEMENT: As Julie was ill Aileen had offered to help with this item. She noted that Julie was writing an updated SCCG perspective on patient engagement. We would invite her to the next Forum. Aileen reported that transformation aspects of the Plan on a Page were at the procurement stage. On the subject of the proposed out of hours service, invited patients had met with CCG staff using a very focused agenda to gain patient views (Malcolm had attended). Aileen felt this model of engagement had been very successful. Issues raised e.g. the problems of autistic patients when contacting services by phone, have resulted in revised standards being put into procurement documents. This was in sharp contrast to an MSK briefing where only 5 of the invited 500 turned up.
The LEBs were another source of valuable information. Malcolm had approached Jaclyn Hall regarding advertising of LEBs and resulting attendance. Meetings were posted on the CCG website, Twitter, Sunderland Echo and via the LEB contact list which included organisations across the city. Numbers attending were not always good but there was to be a re-launch in April when the LEB would be known as the Sunderland Health Forum. New ways to spread the word would be explored. My NHS would be used also as a means of contacting patients who can sign up via .
Aileen noted that the My NHS database would be fed into All Together Sunderland which included the health, education and fire services. The aim was to bring health and social care together.
Members discussed experiences with MSK health professionals and the importance of the chain of communication.
Members asked about the other area patient engagement groups. Only that in the east of the city was functioning. Aileen hoped to build on contacts with e.g. diabetic and heart failure groups. Aileen mentioned a forthcoming session she would be attending on developing patient leaders. Dorothy said she had investigated a three day course on this topic. When she asked how beneficial the training would be she was told she would be able to network. This appeared a very vague outcome stemming from some intense training. She learned that applicants would be vetted. Aileen offered to provide more information at a later meeting.

Malcolm reported that only those practices which had opted out of the patient transport booking system would be using the ERS Medical service. Members wondered how we would discover the efficiency of this new service. A Sunderland Echo article showed a wheelchair bound man who wasn’t granted transport. Members were concerned that a family member or carer would not be allowed to travel with the patient. There was a further burden for patients who were expected go through the process again for each new journey. Members felt that there was a lost link between practices and patient. The practices had the best knowledge of the patients’ needs. It was hoped that the CCG would monitor the service and members could contact Aileen directly with patients’ experiences at

It was hoped to have a rep from Northern Doctors at the next meeting.

Geoff reported that a Westbourne patient with an injured child visited Houghton UCC and was told to make an appointment or visit their GP. Aileen said this was against the terms of the contract awarded to Northern Doctors. Houghton UCC WAS a walk in centre. Members were dismayed the reception staff at Houghton (who Brian Nelson believed were not employed by Northern Doctors) were continuing to offer the wrong advice.

Monday May 11th 6pm at Herrington Medical Centre. Malcolm was asked to invite Julie Whitehouse, a rep from Northern Doctors and someone from NEAS.

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