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CCG Lay Representatives Attend Their First Furness Locality Executive Meeting

NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Furness Locality recently appointed Kath Simm from Barrow-in-Furness and Ian Reed from Millom to be Lay Representatives and represent the Furness community on health issues in their area.

Kath and Ian attended their first Furness Locality Executive meeting on Friday 8 August and spoke about why they have a keen interest in health care and why they wanted to give patients and the public a voice. They talked about how they see their role as a Furness Lay Representative, what health issues they are passionate about and how they plan to engage with the Furness community.

Kath Simm said: “I am honoured to have been elected as one of the Furness Lay Representatives to provide a voice on behalf of the people of Furness. I aim to facilitate their views, so that they feel part of future changes in the NHS, which should enable them to remain at the heart of health and social care by participating fully in the development and decision making processes.”

Ian Reed said: “The NHS has been subject to significant changes in recent years and this is likely to continue as health care and provision of health care services advance. It is important that the community is informed and consulted appropriately so that the services meet the community’s needs and people understand how they can best access these services. The Lay Representatives will be in a position to provide an alternative perspective and ensure the CCG undertakes this interaction with the community it serves.”

Dr Arabella Onslow, Deputy Lead GP for NHS Cumbria CCG Furness, added: “This is the start of better working within and using the expertise of our community to improve local services. The largest underutilised resource in our overstretched NHS is patient experience; we are just starting to appreciate the value this can bring to creating a truly responsive, sustainable, effective quality service. Appointing Ian and Kath, who are passionate representatives for community issues is the beginning of a wider engagement strategy, so if anyone else is interested in getting involved, do contact the locality team.”

Earlier this year, six members of the public applied to become a Lay Representative for the CCG’s Furness Locality following a county wide recruitment exercise. After a public vote at the Furness Listening Event on Thursday 26 June, Ian Reed from Millom was elected by the Furness community.

The remaining five candidates were interviewed by a panel of local GPs who took into account the public’s remaining preferences, but with a view to providing a balance. Kath Simm from Barrow-in-Furness was the successful candidate.

The Lay Representatives will help the GPs and managers in the Furness Locality understand what the public’s priorities are and to scrutinise the processes involved in health care delivery. They will fully participate in the local executive monthly meetings, voice opinions and contribute to discussions constructively as well as respecting confidentiality when necessary. They will act as a critical friend on health matters, deliver conflicting ideas and provide feedback from patients and members of the public from within their local community.

For more information about the Lay Representatives or the Furness Locality Team, contact the CCG on 01229 404680 or email sally.woods@cumbriaccg.nhs.uk.