Groundbreaking Conversation Staffordshire Launched to Shape Health Services
Staffordshire residents are being urged to speak up about the health services that are most important to them.
The organisations responsible for designing, buying and co-ordinating vital services from the end of March have launched Conversation Staffordshire – a campaign to find out which health services are seen as priorities in and around Stafford and Cannock Chase.
The Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Cannock Chase CCG say it is vital that residents get involved in a "grown-up discussion" about health care provision.
Two Conversation Staffordshire events are being held next month, but organisers are calling on residents to get involved immediately over the phone, by email or via social media.
Andrew Donald, chief officer of the two CCGs, said: "We are absolutely determined that the people of Stafford and the surrounding areas and Cannock Chase are given a powerful say in what services are delivered where. That is what Conversation Staffordshire is all about.
"We've got two big events planned for March, but we want everyone who reads this to pick up the phone, email us or find us on Twitter and Facebook to tell us what they want.
"We have to have a grown-up, open and honest discussion. Financial pressures mean doing nothing is not an option, so it is absolutely essential that public opinion informs decision-making every step of the way.
"Priorities may well vary between the two areas and in fact between neighbourhoods, but we need to know that so we have a complete picture."
CCGs are groups of GPs that replace Primary Care Trusts from April. They will be responsible for shaping services including most hospital treatments, urgent and emergency care, rehabilitation and mental health provision.
The first Conversation Staffordshire event is being held in the Ballroom at Cannock Chase District Council offices on Beecroft Road in Cannock on Tuesday, March 5. The second takes place at Rising Brook Baptist Church Centre in Burton Square, Stafford on Tuesday, March 12.
People can book a place on one of three, two-hour workshops or drop in at any time between 12pm and 7.30pm.
Conversation Staffordshire is being supported by Engaging Communities Staffordshire (ECS), the consumer champion organisation that runs health and social care watchdog Healthwatch Staffordshire.
Jan Sensier, chief executive of ECS, said: "The opinions and experiences of real people are vital if the county is to get the health services it deserves.
"Financial constraints mean there are testing times ahead for health providers. The CCGs need to find out what services people value most, where those services need to be and how they should be delivered.
"Conversation Staffordshire is really innovative and it will give Staffordshire residents a powerful voice. I would urge everyone to get in touch."
To book a workshop place, find out more or tell the CCGs your priorities, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01785 887992 or visit www.staffordshirelink.org.uk
Alternatively, talk to the CCGs on Twitter via https://twitter.com/ConvoStaffs and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ConversationStaffordshire.