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Engagement projects

Below you will find a range of opportunities to have your say on health and social care services across the North East and North Cumbria. These will be updated regularly, so please check back.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are visiting to inspect the local arrangements for children and young people with special education needs and disabilities (SEND).

The Inspectors want to know about the help and support that children and young people with SEND get. You can tell them by filling in a survey. What you tell them will be treated in confidence.

There are three separate surveys for:

  • Children and young people with SEND
  • Parents and carers of a child or young person with SEND
  • Practitioners working with children or young people with SEND in education, health or care services

Take the Area SEND inspection survey

The survey links will be open from 10 June 2024 to 9am on 18 June 2024. 

Find further guidance, Easy Read and more information about area SEND inspections on GOV.UK.

We are currently considering all responses from all our partners, including those we gather from the public and from staff across the region and hope to publish this strategy in July.

We will publish our updates here. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact your Involvement and Engagement Team by emailing  necsu.icb.involvement@nhs.net 

In 2024, organisations in Gateshead including Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, GP, Gateshead Council, voluntary sector, and community organisations are focussing on improving access to the women’s health services offered to people living in Gateshead.
To help ensure that local people are getting access to high quality women’s healthcare services, we commissioned an independent survey and piece of research on three main areas of women’s health (menopause, contraception, and gynaecology) and any other priorities for women’s health you may have.

This work was carried out by Involve North East – an independent local charity.

The survey was open to anyone who has used, or currently uses women’s health services in Gateshead, and over 1,000 people responded. The data and the draft report is currently being reviewed by the working group established by Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, and the findings will help inform how services can be improved across the borough. Once we have received a final version of the report, we will publish it here.

Speak Their Name is a memorial quilt project. The quilt is made by people who have been bereaved by suicide. Workshops took place in Darlington, County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Teesside. The final quilt was crafted of 120 individual fabric squares – all representing and honouring loved ones who have died by suicide. The quilt then toured the region with a final event taking place in Newcastle Cathedral.
More information on the project is available on the Quinns Retreat website.

Following the project an evaluation of the impact is taking place. This includes an evaluation of the experience of those who were involved in the project. The work is being promoted to a closed group of quilt makers via Facebook.

We are looking to set up new Pre-Diagnosis and Post-Diagnosis services for Autism in Tees Valley. We really want to hear views on this. Please be involved through either filling in a survey below and/or joining a focus group and help shape the new services. Closing date Sunday 14 July 2024.

Pre diagnosis survey.

Post diagnosis survey.

The ICB wants to better understand the specific challenges people face in accessing NHS dentists in the North East and North Cumbria. We will then use this information to help improve dental services in the region, as part of the next phase of the NHS’s dental recovery plan for the region. We have asked Healthwatch, the independent health and social care champion, to collate the views and experiences of people living in the North East and North Cumbria, to analyse the data, and to then report back to us.

You can share your experiences about getting dental care here.

Here's what you need to know:

  • The survey is open to anyone living in the North East and North Cumbria who has used or tried to use NHS dental services in 2023.
  • Share your feedback through a quick survey (takes about 10 minutes).
  • Your honest opinion will help shape future dental care in the region. Data will be anonymised.
  • Bonus: As an incentive to take part, you will be entered in to a prize draw to win a £100 Love-to-Shop voucher!

Here is the link to the survey. 

Survey ends on March 31st, 2024.


  • Call 0191 263 5321
  • Email info@hwnt.co.uk

Below you will find a range of past projects that took place across the North East and North Cumbria.

Thank you to all parents/carers who submitted responses to our Under 5's Neuro Pathway survey which will help us to understand patient experience. The responses informed us that many families who have experience of the current pathway, felt a lack of support from services both pre and post diagnosis. The majority of replies were also from families who had not accessed any support services prior to diagnosis. Your responses will help us move to a needs led pathway where children and their families can access support with their current concerns without the need for/whilst awaiting diagnosis of a neurodevelopmental condition.

The Tees Valley Getting Help involvement project has now concluded and the findings are now being considered. Please find a link to the final report, setting out the findings from this work here.

Tees Valley getting help - engagement findings report

Tees Valley getting help - engagement findings presentation

We'd like to understand the thoughts and experiences of people in the Tees Valley regarding early mental health support for children and young people, by listening to children and young people, their parents and carers and other key stakeholders (such as people working in educational settings and local organisations) about what currently works well, what can be improved, and what they'd like to see from these services in future.

The THRIVE Framework is a person-centred and needs-led approach to delivering mental health services for children, young people and their families.

Here is a short video that explains iTHRIVE in more detail.

Getting Help is an element of this framework and comprises of children, young people and their families who would benefit from short term, evidence based help and support. This support will have clear aims and goals with criteria for assessing whether the aims and goals have been achieved. 

Between 4 December 2023 and 9 February 2024, we are listening in a variety of ways:

  • Facilitated conversations about mental health with children and young people, mainly in schools and across voluntary sector services
  • A survey for young people aged 11-25
  • A survey for parents and carers of children and young people
  • A survey for stakeholders, current providers and staff
  • Interviews with local authority colleagues.

We are keen to work with anyone who supports children and young people, or parents and carers (whether that's in schools, community settings, Family Hubs or elsewhere).

  • If you would like to hold a facilitated conversation with children or young people, you can download a facilitated discussion guide to ask questions and record key themes. Notes from your discussion can be submitted online at: https://eu.surveymonkey.com/r/GettingHelpDCRT

Discussion guide attachment can be found here.

Recording template can be found here.

If you’d like paper copies of the children and young people survey, or the parent and carer survey (including pre-paid return envelopes), you can request them by sending an email to necsu.icb.involvement@nhs.net. We can also provide A3 posters to promote this listening exercise.

The children and young people survey is also available in easy read and audio formats.

The feedback we receive will be analysed independently to produce a report that will be publicly available. We will continue to involve patients, families, members of the public and stakeholders in conversations around how we develop and improve the mental health support offer for children and young people.

Please consider sharing this information with people in the Tees Valley who you think would be interested in taking part.

The contract for providing services at St George Medical Practice and Riverside Medical Centre is due to expire in February 2024. Listening to the views of patients was an important part of informing the new contract.

Patients were invited to complete a survey and to attend some drop-in sessions, so that they could give their views, express concerns and ask questions.  A report was produced to provide an overview of the feedback gathered during the five-week engagement period.  The themes of the patient engagement findings report were used to help consider and inform what future services are needed at St George and Riverside Medical Practice. 

We will write to patients of the practice to inform them of future arrangements once these are confirmed.

This survey is now closed. It was open to parents, carers and families of children and young people in Newcastle. The findings were provided to the SEND Nurse Co-ordinator and the Children and Young People's team in Newcastle, to help them develop and improve a range future commissioning provisions, that better meet the holistic needs of our communities.

We know that parents, carers and families of children and young people often need a range of support whilst they are waiting for assessments or treatments with an NHS service provider. To better help us plan for the types of support that are most needed and valued in Newcastle Upon Tyne, in September 2023 we undertook a survey of a patients, carers, families and children. We wanted to understand what support they had access to whilst they were waiting for a wide range of assessments and treatments, including services accessed through paediatricians, as well as through Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) services; Occupational Therapy (OT); Physiotherapy; Children and young people's services (CYPS); Childrens mental health services (CAMHS); Neurodevelopmental pathways (Autism or ADHD assessments); 0-5 social communication pathways; and through Health Visitors and School Nurses.

For more information, please contact the engagement team.

This survey is now closed. It was open to care home staff in Newcastle. The feedback from care home staff helped us improve our processes, as well as increase vaccination uptake and work better together with the care homes themselves. For example, the feedback allowed us to develop a new vaccination pack to support care home staff, including what they can expect from the service provider, and all the necessary forms that need to be completed.

In order to help learn lessons from the Spring Booster Vaccine Programme which was delivered in care homes in Newcastle in 2023, we undertook a short survey of care home providers. The aim of the survey was to improve the vaccination programme from a co-ordination and delivery perspective, helping to improve the service for care home residents and staff ahead of the Autumn Booster Programme.

For more information, please contact the engagement team.

This survey is now closed. It was open to patients registered with an NHS GP in Crawcrook, Rowlands Gill, Grange Road and Blaydon. Organisations like Healthwatch provide us with genuinely independent feedback about local health services, and are a useful source of information for us when we are reviewing whether a current service provider is meeting local service user expectations. In autumn 2023, we asked Healthwatch Gateshead to speak to patients of the Crawcrook Medical Centre, to find out a bit more their experiences of using this service. The areas covered by the provider included services in Crawcrook, Rowlands Gill, Grange Road and Blaydon. Healthwatch Gateshead developed a survey, that was delivered both in person to patients, but also electronically, advertising it online, on social media groups, but also in local community locations, through community leaders, and via the GP Practice. 2,283 individuals responded to the survey, and Healthwatch undertook a review of the data collated, and made some recommendations on how services could be improved. These recommendations were presented to local commissioning managers, and also to the service provider, to help inform where service improvements could be made. The report is available here.

This survey is now closed. It was open to people living in Newcastle. In Summer 2023, a partnership between Newcastle GP Services (NGPS), local GP surgeries and other healthcare providers across Newcastle, proposed to create a new Community Health bus, that could provide both health care and health information services in a more accessible way, across the city. In order to help decide what services the bus should offer, and how we can make it easier for the public to use the bus, we are working we undertook a short public and patient survey. We publicised the survey with patients through GP practices, but also with a range of face-to-face engagement activities, as well as online and through social media in local community groups. We used an independent charity, Involve North East, to review the findings, and draft an independent report. The report is available here. The views of the public helped inform and influence everything from the hours the service is provided, to the locations that the bus travels to, and the type of services that are provided. The new service went live in October 2023.

Regular updates from local community groups are one way in which we find out about new and emerging community health issues, and we are committed to nurturing closer links with all parts of our communities. In Newcastle and Gateshead, we work closely with the Haref charity, who facilitate links with ethnically marginalised communities to identify their key issues around health and improve the health information available to them. For example, in February 2024 we worked with Haref and other health and community partners to develop and distribute a Ramadan Calendar. The calendar was distributed via local mosques as well as to local GP practices, and provided health advice on healthy eating and managing health conditions, whilst observing religious fasting customs during Ramadan. The calendar, and more health information is available here

In November 2023, the engagement team facilitated a public epilepsy awareness training session, in partnership with the national charity, Epilepsy Action. Members of the public, as well as representatives from the local voluntary and community sectors, and health and social care staff learnt about different types of seizure and appropriate first aid, including how to help someone having a tonic-clonic seizure. The session also included information on supporting people in the workplace with a predisposition for seizures, as well as how children and young people can be affected by different types of seizure. After the session, working with Epilepsy Action, we provided further links to support and a toolkit to attendees.

In 2023, we completed the first phase of our listening exercise with the public, patients, community, voluntary organisations and staff, to help inform the future direction of delivering Urgent Care services in Newcastle. Over 1,200 people made their views about the service known, through online and paper surveys, and through a series of public face-to-face meetings in community locations across east, central and west Newcastle. Surveys were also distributed through GP practices, urgent treatment centres, the Royal Victoria Infirmary and other key locations (such as libraries and community centres). In addition, over 500 on-street surveys were conducted, and seven independent focus groups were also held. An independent report, analysing the findings, was compiled by Involve North East, and is available here. The findings were reviewed by the Strategic Urgent Care Review Group, made up of clinical leads and senior managers from Newcastle's Urgent Care Centres, GP practices, ED, as well as from Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the ICB. 

Across County Durham and Darlington a piece of involvement work was undertaken to collect information about the Rapid Response Palliative Care services from people who had experienced it directly. This service is currently delivered by two providers, one for County Durham and one for Darlington patients.

This work concentrated on the experiences of family members due to the nature of the service and care provided. Paper copies of feedback questions were left with families using the service. They were than able to anonymously provide their feedback at a time of their choosing which was directly returned to the ICB to collate the responses. Across the feedback that was received at the end of 2023, family members had extremely high praise and positive comments for the care and support that they and their families members received from the staff. This included 96% of respondents telling us that they 'strongly agreed' that they were 'satisfied with the care and support provided'.

All of the information that was collected through this process has directly fed into the subsequent re-procurement process for the two separate contracts that are in place in County Durham and Darlington. 

Working across the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board, there was a desire to be able to align the range of specifications that have previously existed in relation to Continuing Health Care (CHC) packages as well as Domiciliary care services (both standard and complex).

In support of the development of these updated specifications, there was a desire to listen to the views and experiences of those people who have direct experience of these services. The opportunity to share views was disseminated utilising existing channels of communication to individuals connected to these services, as well through local unpaid carer support organisations.

This opportunity to listen helped the ICB understand what is working well in relation to these services and any aspects of the care and support that could be improved. It also presented the opportunity to consider people's perceptions around 'good quality' and relevant 'outcomes' in relation to these services.

You can view the continuing healthcare engagement report here.

In 2019 and 2021, patients of podiatry services in South Tyneside and Sunderland were asked their views of the service. Patient surveys were considered along with the views of podiatry providers and other health professionals to help propose a new way of delivering services. The aim of reviewing the way services were provided was to:

  • improve the experience and outcomes for those patients most in need,
  • provide good value for money, and
  • ensure the service could be delivered given a national shortage of podiatrists.

In 2023, a new model for delivering the service was proposed. It was important patients were able to give their views on the proposals. Healthwatch in both South Tyneside and Sunderland undertook the work for the NHS North East North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB). They spoke to patients in clinics and gave them chance to fill in surveys throughout September 2023. Survey questions were designed to tell people what the proposed changes were and let them share their views or concerns. The reports produced by Healthwatch can be found on their websites:

PowerPoint Presentation (healthwatchsouthtyneside.co.uk)

Podiatry services 2023 | Healthwatch Sunderland

In response to the reports, commissioners confirmed the following:

  • Continuity of care was strengthened in the contract and highlighted most for those at high risk.
  • The proposed new model is expected to have a positive impact on waiting times.
  • Quality of service delivery will be determined through regular meetings to monitor whether the requirements of the contract are being met.
  • Service needs and standards of care will be set, and potential service providers will be evaluated against this.
  • The feasibility of two clinics per Primary Care Network will be fully tested as part of the procurement process. This includes making sure any potential providers can deliver what is needed in relation to activity and demand and identifying clinic locations. It will also include detailed testing around transport and travel infrastructure, i.e. a transport impact assessment to take into account distance, public transport links, parking, disabled parking, costs, and an understanding of the change from what is in place currently to what is to be.
  • The decision making in relation to deciding who will be eligible for clinical treatment and who will be encouraged and educated to self-care will be considered as part of the procurement to ensure it is done in clinically sound way.  As part of the bidding process, providers will be evaluated on how they can meet the requirements of the contract including the criteria they will use to determine eligibility, what self-care will involve, how it will be monitored to ensure it is clinically safe, what and how education will be provided, including methods, content, assessing success, provision of equipment/materials. 
  • The proposed changes to the podiatry service will not impact on patients with existing physical and mental disabilities.  Reasonable adjustments will be made to ensure there is equity of access for these service users.  This will be included within the specification and the Procurement and Evaluation strategy.
  • The Single Point of Access has been designed so that patients are assessed by a suitably trained clinician who can determine the best course of action to meet their needs. Referrals will be assessed against one clear, standardised set of criteria to get people to the right service more quickly and make sure clinic access is prioritised on need.

All the above feedback and themes have been included in the new contract.

In 2022 Healthwatch Sunderland worked in partnership with North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board to listen to what local people thought about accessing GP practices.  There is work ongoing both nationally and locally to respond to the issues raised. However, we know that there are some patients who are still not accessing GP practices, particularly those living in areas of high deprivation.  Given these groups face higher health inequalities, further community insight was needed to understand whether a different response would be required to address their needs.

In 2023 additional work was jointly commissioned by NENC ICB and Sunderland City Council and designed collaboratively with Healthwatch.  The work aimed to focus involvement in areas of Sunderland that fall within the most deprived 20% of areas nationally, as measured by the Index of Multiple Deprivation. This section of the population is often referred to as "Core20".  The work mapped a range of groups across Core20 areas to also get the views of some "PLUS" groups. These PLUS groups include a range of population groups include tend to face greater health inequalities.

The aim of concentrating on Core20PLUS groups was to gain a greater understanding of the views who experience the greatest health inequalities. Specifically, the work aimed to understand where people currently access health care, if and how they use their GP, whether they access preventative or routine appointments, and what makes it difficult for them to attend.  There was also a focus on exploring whether more innovative or community-based approaches to delivering services could support better health access. 

Healthwatch Sunderland undertook 250 semi-structured interviews surveys between September and December 2023. They are currently analysing the data to report the results to commissioners.

The ‘Always the Right Door’ Children and Young People’s Mental Health Summit was held on 25 October 2023. 250 people working in health and care from across the region came together and committed to bringing about the changes we need to give children and young people the best start in life.

Young people, parents and carers shared their experience of mental health services in the North East and North Cumbria. Their stories brought to light the challenges they’ve faced and the importance of finding “the right door” to support those in need. There were sessions showcasing services from across the region and also some problem-solving activities where people got to vote on our top five ‘big ideas’ to take forward. What came out strongly was the need for integrated teams and posts across all sectors and that our young people should be involved in the commissioning and designing of services.  All of the rich content and ideas from the event will be pulled together and form part of our plans for action going forward. 

View the children and young people's mental health summit report.

Patient involvement was needed prior to a recommissioning of the Health Coaching and Social Navigation contracts in South Tyneside. These services aim to help people manage their health and wellbeing.  They may be directed to the services due to a long-term health condition or because there is a wider health benefit to helping connect people to services and activities that meet their needs. Health Coaching aims to improve knowledge, skills and confidence to self-care with an aim of improving health behaviours and, ultimately, clinical outcomes.

An online survey took place during July-August 2023 and was promoted by the current provider.  A total of 287 questionnaires were completed and results are shaping the recommissioning process. Further feedback will be provided as this process takes place.

Below you will find a range of past projects that took place across the North East and North Cumbria.

A new model of urgent care delivery is being proposed for the populations of Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland which would see the opening of a new Integrated Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) at The James Cook University Hospital, and increased opening hours at Redcar Primary Care Hospital, providing 24/7 access to urgent care for all residents of South Tees and the wider Tees Valley. Integrated Urgent Care (IUC) is currently in place across the other boroughs within the Tees Valley.  

The Redcar UTC is currently open from 8am to 9.30pm and under the new proposals this would see access increased to 24/7 opening, 365 days a year.

The IUC model will include home visiting, GP Out of Hours, and management of minor injuries and illness, with 24/7 Primary Care presence across all sites. The aim is to provide the right care at the right place, first time, minimising disruption and frustration for patients and improving efficiency and quality of outcomes whilst reducing the time to access Urgent Care services.

Proposals include a standardised offer, so that wherever a patient lives in Tees Valley, they will have the same access to the same high standard of urgent care around the clock. The proposals would also see the relocation of the GP Out of Hours service from North Ormesby Health Village to The James Cook University Hospital site.

An 11-week period of engagement with patients/carers and stakeholders was carried out between 1st August and Sunday 16th October 2022. This consisted of a survey, public meetings and targeted engagement with the local community. 

Please click here to read the findings of this engagement. This engagement report will help inform the next steps and the development of proposals to ensure services are equipped to best meet the needs of the local population.

NHS Tees Valley and McKenzie Group worked collaboratively between 9 May and 3 July 202 to carry out an eight-week period of public engagement regarding the provision of services from Hartfields Medical Centre, which is located at Hartfields Extra Care Village in Hartlepool.  

The engagement looked at the impact of a possible permanent closure, whilst also exploring alternatives to the branch being fully open and closed. This was the second phase of engagement following an initial engagement exercise in July and August 2021.

The 2022 engagement work included a survey, public meetings and targeted engagement through Healthwatch Hartlepool.

Please click here to read the engagement report. McKenzie Group, NENC ICB and stakeholders are currently considering the findings of this report.

Professionals across the North East and North Cumbria who are involved in maternity and the Best Start in Life agenda were invited to take part in a confidential survey designed to find out how they are using the products and services provided by the NHS NENC ICS Maternity Public Health Prevention in Maternity (PHPiM) team.

The information gathered by the survey will be used to inform the PHPiM programme team how to better communicate and engage with stakeholders to ensure collaborative working across the network. 

An online survey ran from 14 November to 12 December 2022, and the findings are currently being analysed.

For more information on this work, please contact Leisa Smith, Leisa.smith@nhs.net.

After a review of the RISE Mental Health Support Programme in 2019/20 it was felt to be timely to gather further feedback to ensure it is meeting the needs of Gateshead education providers.

During May 2022 we contacted schools across Gateshead asking them to provide feedback on the RISE programme. 46 representatives (headteachers, SENDCo, and other professionals) from 39 schools shared their views on the RISE programme, including schools who use alternate mental health provision to the RISE programme, but may use it in the future. Involve North East (INE) continued to support this project by delivering 3 presentations on our findings to key stakeholders between July and October 2022.

The final version of the report was approved and published in August - RISE Mental Health Support in Schools: Understanding the views and experiences of schools in Gateshead – Involve North East (involvene.org.uk)

Gateshead’s 5 Primary Care Networks (PCNs) took over the running of extended access services that were previously delivered by GP practices in October 2022. Ahead of this, the PCNs were keen to understand what extended access patients would find useful, in order to ensure that services meet their needs.

We developed a survey asking people about their priorities for extended access including evening and weekend appointments, appointments at alternate GP practices, and urgent mental health appointments over the phone.

During July 2022, we publicised our survey widely through local community Facebook groups, statutory organisations, and voluntary and community organisations in Gateshead. 526 people shared their views.

Patient views of extended access to GP services in Gateshead – Involve North East (involvene.org.uk)

As part of their Community Mental Health Transformation Programme, Gateshead Cares wanted to understand whether local mental health services are working, and people are getting the support they need.

In July 2022 we offered people living in Gateshead who had received support from local organisations around their mental health (including their GP practice, Talking Therapies, a charity such as Mind, or NHS services) within the last two years the opportunity to share their views and experiences.

We promoted an online survey and easy read version widely across 25 statutory and voluntary and community organisations in Gateshead, alongside relevant Facebook groups for residents of Gateshead. 109 people shared their views.

Patient experiences of accessing mental health support in Gateshead – Involve North East (involvene.org.uk)

Based on evidence indicating a link between financial stability and mental health and wellbeing, North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System, the Money and Pensions Service and other statutory and voluntary organisations developed a financial tool for mental health practitioners to use when engaging with their clients.

The tool was piloted during September and October 2022 by an NHS South Tyneside and Sunderland Foundation Trust Primary Care Mental Health Worker who carried out interviews using the question framework and signposting tool with their clients.

We gathered feedback from the Mental Health Worker and the 9 clients who had used the tool. To gather feedback from potential future users of the tool, we facilitated 3 focus groups with Tyneside and Northumberland Mind’s Safe Space clients through which an additional 12 clients and 6 practitioners gave their views.

Money and mental health finance tool feedback report – Involve North East (involvene.org.uk)

Following on from our previous engagement work with Gateshead Outer West PCN in 2020 around patients’ knowledge and use of digital services, we again supported this PCN with engagement to help inform the development of their digital agenda.

Patients were surveyed during August and September 2022 to discover their current levels of knowledge and use regarding digital solutions in GP practices. GP practices in the Outer West promoted the online survey through sending a text to a percentage of their patients and made paper copies available in their practice.

We ran face-to-face engagement opportunities with 4 local community centres to ensure we gathered the views of people without digital access. We also promoted the survey through our contacts in local voluntary and community organisations and community Facebook groups.

478 people shared their views and taking the patient population as a whole, the data is representative with a confidence level of 95%.

Exploring patients awareness and experiences of using digital solutions in GP practices – Involve North East (involvene.org.uk)

County Durham Care Partnership are co-producing a strategy to improve the quality of care for local people and communities.

This strategy will set out how the local health and social care system can deliver the very best quality for the people of County Durham.

Colleagues from the local health and social care system have been working for several months on a quality workstream as part of a wider integration programme. The workstream outcome is to have a single coordinated approach to quality and safety measuring, monitoring and assurance across health and social care.

Early engagement work with colleagues was based on building up an understanding of what quality means to individuals within each organisation, where accountability/responsibility for monitoring sits and where concerns are escalated.

As part of this workstream three workshops have been held in recent months with several stakeholders representing health and social care providers of services and commissioning organisations in County Durham.

In December 2022 County Durham Care Partnership produced a survey to seek feedback on what good quality health and social care looks like in County Durham. The responses are now being analysed and will help shape the strategy as it develops.

For more information on this work, please email robert.milner@nhs.net.

NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board are currently reviewing the Tees Esk and Wear Valley (TEWV) specialist perinatal mental health service. 

A 'perinatal' mental health problem is one that you experience any time from becoming pregnant up to a year after you give birth.

A survey was shared with both partners and patients in December 2022, and the results are now being analysed. 

NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (NENC ICB) ran a survey in late 2022 to capture feedback from patients accessing Phlebotomy Services in Stockton-on-Tees.

Phlebotomy services are where patients go to have blood samples taken, which are examined to diagnose or monitor health conditions.

The ICB wanted to understand patients' preferences and experiences of accessing these services..

Data from this survey is now being analysed as part of this service review.

The current Short Breaks Services Statement for Families with Disabled Children from 2016 is being updated by commissioners in Gateshead.

To ensure that the new version will reflect the needs of local stakeholders, we have recently conducted an exercise to recruit parents/carers of disabled children to take part in one-to-one interviews to gather their views on the current Services Statement.

We have been gathering views around the information included, style, and accessibility of the statement. Please click here to read the short breaks position statement report relating to this engagement.

For more information please email jake.turnbull@nhs.net

As part of a service review of the Gateshead Autism Hub in December 2022, Commissioners asked for feedback from service users, their families, friends and other stakeholders, on what was working well, and what needed to be improved, both within the Hub and in autism services in Gateshead in general.

We have spoke to a wide range of stakeholders to inform this development – parents/carers of autistic children and young people, autistic adults, professionals working with autistic children and young people, autistic young people, volunteers from the Autism Hub.

Due to the wide range of stakeholders, we used engagement approaches appropriate to the stakeholder group including one-to-one interviews, focus groups, and interactive feedback activities.

Thank you to all who took part. The findings from this engagement are available here.

Contracting COVID-19 is a distressing experience that affects people differently, meaning you may have different care and wellbeing needs to others. Although most people who have a mild case of COVID-19 recover quickly, around one in ten patients will report prolonged symptoms that can last for several weeks or even months. These symptoms can include chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, a cough and loss of sense of taste and smell, among others. Where symptoms persist past twelve weeks, this is known as post-Covid syndrome.

If your symptoms last for more than twelve weeks, you may require support to ensure that you recover well. NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) have compiled a variety of self-help resources, as well as information on the services available locally that can assist you with post-Covid syndrome. This information covers things like diet, exercise and smoking (if applicable), getting back to work and when to seek further support.

Across the Tees Valley, Local Authorities and NHS Trusts offer a wealth of support to people living with post-Covid syndrome.

You can access this information by visiting: https://nenc-teesvalley.icb.nhs.uk/recovering-from-covid-19/.

During January and February 2023, those who have experienced post-Covid syndrome were invited to share their feedback on local services via an online survey.

The feedback is currently being analysed and will enable health professionals to review the effectiveness of the services available to support in the planning of future service delivery.

North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (NENC ICB) is working in partnership with Voluntary Organisations' Network North East (VONNE) and Cumbria Council for Voluntary Service (Cumbria CVS) on a programme of work which seeks to increase the involvement of voluntary and community sector organisations in engaging children and young people in mental health research.

The Research Engagement Network Development (REND) Programme recognises that mental health services for children and young people are experiencing a significant rise in demand across the country, and to help reverse this trend it is essential that we develop a deeper understanding of the diversity of views and the experiences of children and young people, as their families, in our communities. 

£64,000 of funding has been made available for the North East and North Cumbria region, to fund up to two VCSE organisations in each of the four Integrated Care Partnership areas.

The programme will support awarded VCSE organisations to co-design a programme of engagement with their respective communities and develop an evaluation plan to monitor the outcomes of each approach.

VCSE organisations of all sizes involved in supporting children and young people under 18 years old, and/or their families based in the North East and North Cumbria, were invited to apply, and the closing date for applications was 26.02.2023. The successful applicants were informed on 10.03.23.

If you have questions about the REND Programme, please email necsu.icb.involvement@nhs.net.

NHS leaders have been calling on people in Newcastle to share their views as they listen to patients’ views on urgent care services in the city.

Urgent care – for those times when you need medical help today, but it’s not an emergency – is centred on three Urgent Treatment Centres, at Ponteland Road, Molineux Street in Byker, and Westgate Road (which is temporarily closed).

In addition to these centres, patients also get urgent care support from NHS 111 (online and by phone), GP practices, pharmacists and services based at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) such as the minor injuries unit.

To get local people's perspectives on current services and what they think they should look like in future, we ran a survey, which was available online and in print from 30 January to 12 March 2023.

We also funded voluntary sector organisations to hold asset-based focus groups with their service users.

The engagement findings will be collated into a summary report prior to a series of public events, where local people can discuss the services in more detail.

To find out more, please email nencicb-ng.involvement@nhs.net.

North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board is working to improve the uptake of physical health checks for people with Severe Mental Illness (SMI) in Newcastle and Gateshead.

It is well known that people living with SMI are at higher risk of physical health problems. The life expectancy of people with SMI is 15-20 years lower than the general population.

In 2020 work was carried out with patients with SMI living in Newcastle and Gateshead to explore the barriers/enablers to accessing physical health checks. Since July 2021 GP practices in Newcastle and Gateshead have provided an Enhanced Service around the provision of health checks for people with SMI and patients should receive an annual comprehensive assessment.

Involve North East was asked to gather feedback from patients who had received a check after July 2021 to understand their experience and help identify where timely adjustments to the health check process could be made, in order to improve patient experience and uptake.

After consultation with relevant organisations, it was felt that the best way to gather feedback was at the point of contact with the GP practice. Patients/carers were able to share their views via an online survey, with reminders provided by practice staff. 

The survey was promoted widely by local voluntary and community sector organisations and posters were distributed through November 2022. Thirty-three patients/carers provided feedback on their experiences, 32 completed a questionnaire and one took part in an interview.

Please click here to read a summary of the feedback and recommendations provided by Involve North East.
For more information please contact jake.turnbull@nhs.net.

Between October and November 2022, working with statutory, voluntary and community organisations in Gateshead, we sought the views of children, young people and their parents and carers about their experiences of mental health provision.

We wanted to find out what they felt was working well and what could be improved, in the way we provide mental health services to children and young people in Gateshead. We asked them what good mental health means to them, how and where they find support, and also about their experiences of talking to health professionals, and their experiences of accessing mental health services.

Please click here to read the report which summarises our findings.
For more information please email jake.turnbull@nhs.net

Between February and March 2023, NHS in Tees Valley carried out a four-week public engagement exercise to seek the views and experiences of those who have accessed the Musculoskeletal (MSK) Service within Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland.

As part of the engagement, the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board asked patients to complete a short anonymous survey. A summary of the responses will be included in a report to recommend any future changes to the MSK service. 

This was a listening exercise and no proposals have yet been developed regarding any changes to the services currently available. No decisions would be reached regarding any service change without additional patient engagement.

If you have any queries, please email necsu.icb.involvement@nhs.net.

The Waiting Well programme aims to engage with patients to support them to adopt healthier lifestyles whilst waiting for surgery.  


Eight areas across North East and North Cumbria have received funding to deliver the programme. NENC ICB conducted engagement from December 2022 to March 2023. This included seven 30-minute stakeholder interviews, and a series of patient focus groups arranged with support from Healthwatch organisations and other voluntary and community sector organisations. 193 individuals participated in the focus groups. 
The programme was generally perceived well by both members of the public and stakeholders, who discussed how patients can often feel ‘left or abandoned’ whilst awaiting surgery which can impact upon their physical and mental wellbeing. Most participants said they would feel happy if invited to participate in Waiting Well, perceiving that something positive was happening, that they had not been forgotten or that it was part of the preparation process for their surgery.


Some members of the public were less certain of the benefits of the programme due to a lack of information, or felt the programme might add pressure to an ‘already stretched’ healthcare system or there might be personal barriers to access. Some indicating they, or others, may feel patronised or apprehensive about the programme.


Some patients spoke of the provision of regular support from a named contact to enable patients to build trusted relationships, and recognition that some will require more intensive support than others. 


Please click here to read a full report from the engagement. The report has been shared with the ICB project team to inform planning of the rollout of the Waiting Well programme across the NENC.   

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