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Patient engagement builds firm foundations in Bradford City

Patient engagement builds firm foundations in Bradford City

Building a firm foundation for patient engagement to develop - a key priority of NHS Bradford City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) - is now really starting to take shape.

At its governing body meeting on Wednesday (13 May), the CCG will hear how much patient engagement at a GP practice level has improved over the last year.

In 2014 the CCG decided to tackle the poor representation of patient groups in local practices and improve engagement with the community – so that more people could get involve with the work of the CCG and have their say about local NHS services.

A local improvement scheme (LIS) was set up by the CCG to financially support practices to develop strong engagement mechanisms and involve patients in practice and CCG activity.

Max Mclean, lay member for patient and public involvement at Bradford City CCG, said: “It’s a real cause for celebration that the patient groups have come so far in just a year. Despite their best efforts, many practices had struggled to set up a patient group until we introduced the LIS, which allowed them to appoint a patient engagement lead.

“The engagement leads have been able to dedicate time to getting patients on board and create opportunities for people to have their say and get involved in service improvement. This has created positive energy in the practice as more people join in and see that they can help change things for the better.”

Kathryn Higgins is the patient engagement lead for four City practices: Picton, Bilton and Frizinghall medical practices and Dr Iqbal’s practice at Kensington Street.

Examples of work that Kathryn has taken forward include developing joint funding bids to apply for work in the community and arranging themed education sessions on topics that patients have requested on mental health and long term conditions and working with groups such as older people, vulnerable adults, families and young children. These sessions have had between 10 and 30 people attending and provide information in a relaxed environment and working with key community organisations.

And another success story is Valley View Surgery, which faced many challenges in developing and recruiting to a patient group but, thanks to the LIS, has now established a well-supported group which is making a real difference in many ways, including:

  • looking at feedback and where the practice can improve for example, promoting the use of Pharmacy First and having sessions to show patients how to use the practice touch screens

  • setting up walking groups, a gardening group and a young mums group by working in partnership with practice health champions

  • the practice engagement lead attending the patient and community network and the local health and wellbeing hub.

As well as the engagement leads, the CCG has supported the development of a patient and community network - so that patients and the public can get involved with and influence decisions made about their local health services. The network includes community groups so that the practices can be supported to build relationships with their communities and patients. The network also provides an opportunity for patient groups to share good practice and support each other to develop.

The CCG’s approach to improving patient experience, led by patients, has developed an infrastructure covering all local NHS services which promotes engagement and captures people’s experiences and views. The Grass Roots system reports on patients’ feedback from a wide range of sources, including NHS Choices, engagement work, patient groups, Healthwatch, surveys and direct patient and public feedback.

Bradford City CCG’s governing body is holding its meeting in public at Carlisle Business Centre, Bradford BD8 8BD, on Wednesday 13 May at 2.30pm. The agenda and associated papers are available on the CCG website

If you would like to tell the CCG about your experiences please contact:  Local people can also become members of their practice patient participation group or get in touch with Healthwatch Bradford and District at



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