One of Our Healthier South East London (OHSEL) STP’s challenges has been to ensure best practice patient and public engagement principles were embedded within the programme, in order to demonstrate public accountability at a strategic level.

Our team has recruited around 35 volunteer Patient and Public Voices (PPVs) and Healthwatch representatives who have been involved in shaping the work of the OHSEL STP over the past four years. They have done this through regularly contributing and adding value to senior clinical and strategic working groups.

We have designed and delivered an ongoing support package for the PPVs. This includes designated staff to answer their queries, reimbursement policies to ensure they are not out of pocket for the time they give, as well as a peer support forum which helps them to network with other PPVs and be briefed on the wider programme. This package ensures they receive the support they need to continue in their vital voluntary roles.

As a result of this support, the STP is legally compliant with best practice guidance around involving patients and the public in developing health and care services, but OHSEL has gone beyond this.

PPVs have influenced the STP by commenting on key programme documents, supporting the STP’s decision making as part of proposals for potential consultations and evaluating bids as part of procurement activities.

The programme was shortlisted for an Association for Healthcare Communications and Marketing (AHCM) award for its approach to patient and public engagement