Citizens’ Panel making a difference in Bath and North East Somerset

Virgin Care are encouraging more residents throughout Bath and North East Somerset to stay up to date with the organisation’s transformation to health and care services in the county and to get involved with what’s happening in their area to help make decisions on the best ways to further improve  services.

Everyone from service users, carers or members of the public with an interest can sign up to Bath and North East Somerset’s Citizens’ Panel at any time to stay informed about what the organisation is doing, for example asking them how they think its doing locally, and give them the chance to get involved in improving health and care services.

It works by getting in touch with the individual citizens with opportunities to take part in initiatives and they’ll also receive news updates on a regular basis based on their chosen service areas of interest.

Nearly 50 people have signed up to be part of the panel so far.

It has already strengthened communication and help Virgin Care learn from local knowledge when it took on the running of services in Bath and North East Somerset in April 2017. It has also built strong foundations for the future by updating members on the immediate priorities and progress to date, plans for transformation as well as the vision and values and how services can develop with their help.

Members have been helping inform decisions for Virgin Care’s Feel the Difference Fund applications made by colleagues in local services, scoring highly for the new electronic lobby sign within the outpatient department at St Martins Hospital that’ll improve accessible information on where patients need to go. In their scoring, Citizens’ Panel members said “a permanent signage would be more appropriate before reaching the area so the people know they are in the right area” and that “it is long overdue”.

They’ve also helped complete a survey on a review of mental health services and worked on developing a website for Bath and North East Somerset’s Community Health and Care Services.

The panel launched in 2017 as part of the organisation’s work to engage with local people. It works by getting a group of local people together who help shape health and care services by offering their views and insight into what matters to them, helping set priorities and develop solutions.

Kirsty Matthews, Managing Director of Bath and North East Somerset Health and Care Services for Virgin Care, said: “We’re seeing some very clear signs of how we’ve improved and moved on, the Citizens’ Panel has been a key part of that, helping us communicate with them but also get them involved to make a difference to the people who use our services.

“The more people who join, the better our services will be – and we hope over the next year that our exciting projects will encourage more people who have yet to sign up come and be part of something very exciting in Bath and North East Somerset.”

People can sign up now at: www.citizenspanel.co.uk

Virgin Care runs Bath and North East Somerset’s Community Health and Care Services on behalf of the local NHS.

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