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Health Reference Group

Who we are

NHS South Kent Coast Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is committed to working with patients and public to improve healthcare for all patients living and working in south Kent coast.

 As part of this commitment the CCG has developed a number of opportunities for patients to support  the development of services and commissioning plans, which include public meetings, the Health  Network and patient town-based working groups (service-specific).

As well as these opportunities for patients and stakeholders to input into local health services, the CCG has supported the set up our Health Reference Group (HRG). This is a permanent working group that forms an integral part of the CCG’s strategic processes.

The HRG is formed by 15 representatives which include the chairs of locality Patient Participation Groups (PPGs).  The locality PPGs are made up of all the chairs of our town-based GP practices, representing practices across Deal, Dover and Shepway, to ensure that both practices and our unique towns are represented within the CCG. The remaining members of SKC HRG come from local voluntary and community sector organisations, and represent a wide range of the communities served by the CCG – including people with learning disabilities, mental health user groups and Kent Healthwatch.

To help support the link between other CCG standing committees, such as Quality and Assurance, the CCG patient and public lay member, Cathy Finnis, chairs the HRG.

What do we do?

The HRG acts to represent the voices of SKC patients, public and stakeholders. They work with the CCG commissioners to support them around public and patient involvement in the CCG’s commissioning intentions.

Some of the work the HRG has been involved in includes:

  • Shared care records (to ensure that the voice of patients is heard in the design of shared electronic records between health and social care professionals).
  • Project scoping for testing for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in primary care.
  • Supporting the development of the CCG’s five-year strategy, including out-of-hospital care services.
  • Mapping patient pathways to support the development of the future CCG mental health strategy.


How can I get involved?

If you would like to get involved in helping to influence local healthcare, you can join your local GP practice PPG, and link directly with your locality PPG to have a voice in SKC CCG decision- making processes. Alternatively, you can join the SKC health network and help us by taking part in focus groups or surveys or come and talk to us at our regular public meetings to make sure your voice is heard.

If you have any questions about the HRG or are interested in finding out more contact Katie Blissett, Senior Engagement Officer, katie.blissett@nhs.net

Future Engagement Meetings

In November 2018, Cathy Finnis, the lay member for Patient and Public Engagement led a workshop to consider how to improve engagement. It was decided to hold open engagement meetings for anyone to attend  including statutory organisations, and voluntary and community organisations. The first meeting was held in February 2019.  It was well attended with between 30 and 35 people in the room at any one time. There were patient participation group members and representatives from statutory, voluntary and community organisations, including a Healthwatch volunteer. The topic discussed at the meeting was the development of urgent treatment centres and there were excellent suggestions and questions put to SKC’s Head of Local Care. It was agreed by participants that the format was useful and that meetings will be at The Ark in Dover on the following dates:

  • Wednesday 1 May – 2pm-4pm
  • Thursday 27 June – 2pm-4pm
  • Wednesday 14 August – 2pm-4pm
  • Tuesday 1 October – 2pm-4pm
  • Wednesday 4 December – 2pm-4pm.


If people wish to attend these meetings contact: Katie Blissett, Senior Engagement Officer, katie.blissett@nhs.net

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As well as opportunities for patients and stakeholders to input into local health services, the CCG practices have supported the our Patient Participation Groups (PPG's)