Background NHS England and the Health Care act 2012 encourages patients involvement in design and delivery of targeted care. The system changes with Community led commissioning of care has brought a raft of new measures for providers and patients to negotiate.
Objectives The Central Middlesex Hospital Rheumatology Support Group (CMRSG) was initially set up to benefit the psychosocial wellbeing of the patients of the Unit.
It aimed to meet on a regular basis to improve the liason between the small Rheumatology Unit and the local patient population, and commit to effect positive changes.
Diminishing staff and unmanaged waiting lists led to regular patient representative complaints to an unresponsive Secondary Care Trust Provider senior management.
Methods The group meets monthly and provides support and advice between members, and arranges outside speakers giving motivational and/or clinically relevant informative talks.
It also aims to involve patients in helping to give patients a say in the way services are delivered, and to ensure the NHS remains accountable, dynamic and responsive to their needs.
Results The group has explored use of email contact with over 300 members now and over 100 by snail mail.
An audit of patient preferences by survey monkey was a powerful confidentially managed tool to let management know the patients were not to be relocated and that staff who had been withdrawn were required back.
Interim Locum Consultant arrangements have relieved a lot of pressure on waiting lists and temporarily improved patient safety and outcomes we believe.
This group has obtained advice from experienced patient reps at Trust board level and pursued objectives via local Government Health strategy boards to effect pressure upon the Commissioning body (CCG) and the provider arm (NHS Trust). Latterly, meetings with Trust Strategy team has happened.
This was because of perceived power from the group to now retain business from a run down clinic in the face of CCG expression of recommissioning with any willing provider.
The aim is to support local clinic services which have been built up on a virtually single handed basis over 20 years by one Specialist consultant.
Conclusions Patient groups are important for the wellbeing of patients by acting as a group towards common goals. Patients can help determine service design to improve access and outcomes.
The campaign to keep the CMH Rheumatology service is still in action and we won the first stage by discovering and following the complaints mechanism which halted the decision of decommissioning on a procedural technicality.
We are now moving to the next stage which will improve our Rheumatology service at CMH and look forward to work with managers in monitoring resource and demand management in some detail.
Disclosure of Interest None declared