Take a look at our previous engagement projects and achievements. 



We procured a GP led phlebotomy service, after the current provider, Medway NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) served notice to terminate provision of the service. Patient engagement was critical to the procurement process and patient views helped to shape a new service specification. Patient representatives were an integral part of the evaluation panel to review bids submitted by providers

Engagement included a questionnaire which was distributed through the Health Network, via GP practices and all local clinics (Medway Community Healthcare, MFT and GPs). To complement the questionnaire, two focus groups were undertaken at community clinics and at two other community clinics staff spoke to patients on a one-to-one basis. This mix of face-to-face interaction and structured questionnaires allowed development of an understanding of patients’ behaviours and preferences in relation to phlebotomy services.

We used feedback from both the questionnaires and the face-to-face sessions to shape the service specification, specifically around timings and locations of clinics to ensure the service matched local need. We received almost 1,000 completed questionnaires.


The strategic focus for planned care is to ensure clinically and cost effective, high quality planned care, enabling patients to see the right person, in the right place at the right time and, wherever possible, closer to home. Access to outpatient services was a core part of the planned care programme for 2013/14. A detailed programme focused on improving access and patient experience through a review of pathways at service and condition level and the referral and review system (via choose and book).

Engagement activities included workshops and questionnaires and information gathered was used to help improve outpatient services and patient experience. This initial broad overview also expanded into specific condition areas.


We have been working in partnership with Diabetes UK to ensure people living with diabetes in Medway get a say in the future delivery of services. Two events were held, attended by more than 60 patients.

We are using the information gathered to help improve diabetes care in Medway.

In addition to this, a review of the podiatry service is being undertaken as a direct result of patient feedback.

Developing Commissioning Priorities

The development of commissioning intentions is an on-going process to ensure delivery of high quality care to meet local population needs, within financial constraints.

To contribute to the development of 2014/16 priorities we involved a wide range of stakeholders including clinicians and patients at four separate events

Feedback from the meetings was collated and reviewed by all programme leads who used the information to inform and develop ideas and opportunities for priority projects.

Freshers’ fairs

Students are a key group we are keen to engage with. With the approach of winter, and expected pressures on the urgent care system, we attended freshers’ and college induction fairs. As well as disseminating information, it also enabled us to collect views and opinions from a specific group  of Medway residents

Neurological Rehabilitation Procurement

Specialist neuro-rehabilitation units in East and West Kent currently provide inpatient rehabilitation services for patients with neurological conditions. This includes both progressive and acute cases, including traumatic brain injury services to the entire Kent population. More specialist services are currently commissioned from Kings College NHS Trust (Kings), London.

We have reviewed neuro-rehabilitation services to define and inform what provision we should commission to meet rehabilitation needs, and where the provision should be from.

In order to inform this process we met with Headways, the brain injury association, and Kent Acquired Brain Injury Forum to discuss the best ways to engage with neurological rehabilitation patients. From this a range of engagement methods have been developed including site visits to the rehabilitation units, focus groups and questionnaires and the engagement will help shape the new service specification.

Urgent Care – Testing Products with Patients

During the winter months, communication about local services becomes ever more important to ensure patients make the right choices about where to receive their care.

It is therefore essential that communication materials and campaigns are clear and tailored for different audiences. As research has identified that certain groups are more likely to go to A&E, these groups were targeted to find out whether the ideas for a film, web app, mailshot and posters would be effective for them.

Five hard-to-reach communities were targeted:

  • Parents with young children (aged 0-4)
  • Teenagers and 20 somethings (15-29)
  • People of working age who are generally healthy
  • Those who do not speak English as a first language
  • People with a learning disability.

All of the feedback was passed to the app design and communications team who then incorporated the patient feedback into the development of the app.

Call to Action – Urgent Care Event

Nationally the NHS set out a consultation calling on patients, the public and staff to join in a discussion about the future of the NHS to plan the best way of delivering services, now and in the future.

As winter is a constant challenge for the NHS, the local consultation focused on urgent care. The purpose was to understand patients’ behaviours, and barriers to accessing services other than calling 999.

Locally it was agreed to try a different engagement approach which targeted a representative sample of the public with the aim of reaching those who don’t usually engage with us. Specific sections of the community were selected from a public health data profiling tool called MOSAIC with a view that this approach would target attendees from a different cross section of the community. Over 1,000 people were invited, by letter, to the event.

As the response rate from the mailing was much smaller than anticipated, individual voluntary and community groups were contacted to increase attendance.

At the event, patients were asked to focus on three key areas: what patients could do, what the NHS could do and how to get the message across on how to access different services.

To support this, we also used questionnaires encompassing all areas of health which were featured in Medway Matters, Medway Council’s magazine for residents. This enabled us to reach patients and staff.

Feedback was collated to inform future plans.

Learning Disabilities Self-assessment Framework

The joint self-assessment is an annual process of reviewing health and social care service provision for people with learning disabilities and their family members. An important part of this is to understand the experiences of service users and their carers.

We arranged two focus groups, one with Shout Out, the local self-advocacy group for people with a learning disability, and one for carers.

Each group was asked for feedback on what was working well, what wasn’t working so well and what could be improved with a focus on three key areas; staying healthy, being safe and living well.

Feedback has been put into the self-assessment framework and will form the areas of work for the LD team during 2014/15

Homeless Local Enhanced Service

We completed a review of this local enhanced service, which provides GP services to homeless clients at the Caring Hands shelter.

During a visit to Caring Hands, 24 clients shared their experiences of using this service including accessibility to the service, the reason for attendance and how they felt about their interaction with the healthcare professionals.   This feedback will be fed in to the refresh of the service specification.

Community Services Redesign – Project in Progress

A key element of the community services redesign project is to implement a case management model which supports patients particularly those with one or more  long term condition.

A patient survey has been designed to gain feedback from current services users on their experiences of the first stage of the new case management model and other engagement is planned for the future.