Uttlesford urged to have their say on health matters

THE public in Uttlesford are being urged to grasp the opportunity to help shape health services as the running of the local NHS prepares to change.

On April 1, the GP-led West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group will take over the running of the local NHS from the Primary Care Trust which will herald a culture of greater public and patient involvement in the decision-making process.

The Uttlesford Residents Health Forum has been created to give members of the public that voice and will next be meeting will be held later this month. It will specifically look at urgent care issues including the out of hours service and pressure on the accident and emergency department.

Toni Coles, director of Development and Strategy at West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said patient input is a very important part of the way the new organisation operates.

“One of the key aims of this change in the way the NHS is run is to encourage greater involvement from the public – to enable them to have a louder voice in the way services are delivered,” she said.

“We want to listen to people’s views and experiences and feed these into our routine business, we want to consult about a particular service area or commissioning decision and we will seek views at an early stage to inform our proposals with a range of perspectives and expertise.

“Health forums are a great way for the public to engage so I would encourage people to attend the meetings of the Uttlesford Health Forum and see for themselves how they can become involved.”

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The Uttlesford Residents Health Forum meeting is on March 27, from 6–8pm at the Uttlesford District Council offices in London Road, Saffron Walden, when anyone is welcome to attend. To book a place, e-mail we.ccg@nhs.net