Healthwatch Lancashire Promoting the Public Voice

Sue Stevenson, Chief Operating Officer, Healthwatch Lancashire, attended a meeting of the Lancashire and South Cumbria  Integrated Care System Partnership Forum (LSC ICS) on Wednesday 28th August.  LSC ICS’ aims “to join up health and care services, to listen to the priorities of our communities, citizens and patients and to tackle some of the biggest challenges we are all facing.”

On this occasion, an interesting discussion was held on the future governance arrangements for the system taking account of a governance review that had took place.   Sue said that she wanted to ensure that the proposed changes would include enhanced opportunities for involving people, for increasing accountability to the public and would improve outcomes. Ensuring the voices of the public were front and centre. She said that simply changing how the different parts of the system met and worked together in committees and Boards did not guarantee that things would be better for people.

The proposed citizens panel would help to accomplish this and ensure that the people of Lancashire have their voices heard in the process.

It was acknowledged that at this stage the focus is on working out how LSC ICS partnership governance will work on top of organisational and statutory governance that is already in place across the ICS and that things may change. 

Andrew Bennet, Executive Director for Commissioning, agreed that system leaders needed to think more about accountability to the public, suggesting that case studies would help to show where this had been effective in the past.  Sue went on to ask whether the ICS Board should meet in public to enhance its transparency and increase involvement. She said that this was the case for the System Leaders Board in North Cumbria.

Andrew went on to invite Healthwatch to attend a Development Session of the ICS Board to discuss this in more detail – the question would be “what difference will this make for local people?”

The meeting went on to consider the current approach to delivering the NHS Long Term Plan which needed to include achieving efficiency gains, by considering, for example, how outpatients and operating theatres work at the moment.  

Healthwatch Lancashire will continue its involvement with the Lancashire and South Cumbria  Integrated Care System Partnership Forum to ensure that the voices of the public are front and centre in the process going forward.

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