Search begins for panel members to help transform health and care across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

The search has begun for volunteers to form a new People’s Panel that will provide views and advice on plans to transform health and care services from the comfort of their own homes.

The panel will play an active role in helping improve services and will consist of people who will represent a cross-section of local communities.

It is being created by Together We’re Better, the partnership of NHS and local government organisations alongside independent and voluntary sector groups, that is working together to transform local health and care services across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Dr Paddy Hannigan, a Stafford GP and head of Together We’re Better’s Digital Programme said: “We want the panel to fulfil an important role in helping us reach our targets, which include enabling people to live well for longer, help them to stay independent, give parity to mental health and deliver care closer to home.

“To do this we need to make sure people have access to high quality health and care services but, they need to align with what people will use and the way that they lead their lives.

“We want our panel to be a good and varied representation of the local population, so that we have a better idea of what is important to the people we care for.

“We know there are people who have views on NHS services but can’t get to regular meetings easily and who think that because they have never worked in the NHS or are not part of a support or interest group then their opinions are less likely to be listened too. This is not true, everyone’s view counts.”

Simon Whitehouse, Director of Together We’re Better said: “We don’t want listening to local people to be an event, but something that happens all the time. Our commitment is to ask for views on a range of areas and we shall ensure that the feedback is shared with the People’s Panel members and keep them informed of what action we are taking as a result.”

Panel members will be regularly emailed online surveys that are short and engaging. These surveys will give health and social care partners vital information that will help to improve local services.

In the future, panel members may also be invited to attend face-to-face focus groups.

Anyone who is interested in joining the panel can register online at www.twbstaffsandstoke.org.uk or call 01785 276926.

All personal information will be completely confidential and additional information can be found at www.twbstaffsandstoke.org.uk/get-involved/peoples-panel