How you can get involved
Why you should get involved
We aim to put the public voice at the heart of all that we do. We want to make sure the views of the people who live and work in Somerset are listened to and that their feedback directly contributes to our work in setting health priorities and shaping health services in Somerset.
We offer a range of ways to get involved with the work we do and this can be seen in our approach to public involvement. By getting involved, you can help us to improve the healthcare services that you use.
How you can join in
Sign up to our Engagement Bulletin
Our weekly engagement bulletin will keep you updated about any changes or development to NHS services in Somerset as well as promoting opportunities to get involved.
Become a People Champion
A People Champion is a patient or member of the public who volunteers to work with us on projects. They bring their lived experience, skills, and knowledge, championing the public voice in the planning, development and commissioning of health services.
Join a group
The links on the right detail the work and functions of various engagement groups and committees that support commissioning locally, and gives information on how members of the public can become involved. Our Governing Body meetings are open for the public to attend. Click on the links on the right to find out more.
Fit for my Future
A current major plan for commissioning health services in Somerset is Fit for my Future.
Support to take part
We offer a variety of training sessions to support our public involvement and engagement work.
We are committed to making our engagement activities and opportunities as accessible as possible. We are keen to make sure that people with differing needs can take part in our engagement activities. For example, we always use wheelchair accessible venues, we access language and BSL interpreters as required and have a portable hearing loop for engagement events and meetings. We also fund the travel expenses of People Champions invited to be involved in commissioning activities.
The NHS uses lots of jargon and new acronyms come into use all the time. Sometimes our People Champions, patients and the public tell us that it is difficult to understand what is being discussed when they meet with NHS staff. We know that in meetings staff sometimes slip into using jargon without realising it, which can make it difficult for our People Champions or members of the public to speak up and ask what the jargon means.
We encourage our staff not to use jargon but we have produced a jargon directory to help and support our People Champions to understand these terms if they come across them in meetings or during their healthcare journey.
Paper copies of the jargon directory are made available to all our People Champions on request. If you come across new jargon which is not in the directory – please let us know and we will make sure we update the directory.
If you find new jargon or would like a paper copy of the directory, please contact the Engagement Team on 01935 384022 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other ways to get involved
We work closely with other organisations that hear and champion the public voice. Public involvement in these groups also helps shape health services in Somerset.
Healthwatch Somerset is the county’s independent health and care champion. They listen to what people like about local health services, and what could be improved. These views are then shared with the decision-making organisations like ourselves, so together a real difference can be made. You can share your views with Healthwatch, ask for information, or become a volunteer.
Somerset Maternity Voices Partnership
Somerset Maternity Voices Partnership work to make sure that the voices of people who have used or are using the maternity services in Somerset are heard by ourselves and the providers we commission.
Somerset Parent Carer Forum
Somerset Parent Carer Forum makes sure parent carers have a strong voice in improving the lives of families, children and young people with disabilities. They share concerns and issues with relevant key policymakers and service providers. They work alongside ourselves and Somerset County Council to have a better understanding of SEND needs in Somerset, attending meetings, forums and workshops to make sure parent carers’ voices and children’s needs are being heard at all levels within health, education and social care services.
Carers Voice Somerset
Carers’ Voice Somerset is an influencing body concerned with improving the lives of carers in Somerset. It is made up of representatives of organisations and agencies which have a stake in supporting carers in the county. Carers’ Voice Somerset brings together carers, former carers, local providers, ourselves and Somerset County Council commissioners to advise and make recommendations on the joint development of health, social care and related services.