New patient group gets policy change at hospital trust

A new patient group - recruited with help from Healthwatch - is up and running, aiming to help shape policy and services at local hospitals.
Picture shows Healthwatch team member

The group – representing Cambridgeshire and Peterborough's diverse ethnicity mix – is working with North West Anglia Foundation Trust (NWAngliaFT), which runs Hinchingbrooke, Stamford and Rutland and Peterborough City hospitals, as well as outpatient services in Ely and Doddington.

Our engagement officer Rebwar Hussein has helped promote the group and recruit members.

He is based in Peterborough where he has lots of contacts with many local communities in the city, including different cultural, refugee and asylum groups.

City's diverse ethnic mix represented

Representatives from Solutions 4 Health, Near Neighbours and EAST as well as hospital users with African, Latvian, Roma, Lithuanian, Chinese, Caribbean, European and Asian backgrounds have been involved in the new group so far. But people from all communities are welcome to get involved.

An early success has been helping to change NWAngliaFT policy over Ordinary Residency (OR) – which checks the identity and eligibility of patients to receive NHS hospital services for free.

Ordinary Residency checks changed

Following a complaint that these pre-appointment checks adversely impacted a patient from an ethnic background, the Trust – in consultation with the new group – has rewritten its policy on the OR process. 

Patients with new service appointments over four weeks away will be able supply information in advance – cutting the need for on-the-day checks by about two thirds.

The aim has been to develop a system that is smarter and less invasive, offering more privacy to patients and more discretion to staff doing the checking.  

Any time Trust policy is reviewed, its impact will also be assessed and if there is likely to be a negative effect on people from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) groups, it will be brought to the new group to see if we can find practical ways to solve the issues.
— Simon Howard, NWAnglia FT's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead

In future, the group hopes to work together on:

  • Patient issues stemming from the UK's possible departure from the European Union.
  • Working with NWAngliaftFT midwifery research teams in a bid to lower mother and child mortality rates which nationally vary substantially between ethnic groups.

Get involved

Like to get involved in shaping NWAngliaFT services and policy for your community? Get in touch with us to find outwhen the next meeting is. 

Do you have an experience to share about accessing hospital services?

Call us on 0330 355 1285

Text us on 0752 0635 176

Share your views

Picture shows Healthwatch engagement officer Rebwar Hussein.

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