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Our approach

By engaging with local people we want to understand their needs, concerns and experiences so we can deliver the best possible health services in Somerset. We understand that positive health outcomes for the people can only be achieved if local people are at the heart of everything we do. 

We also understand that people will want to engage with us in different ways. We are therefore committed to using a range of ways to;

  • share information about our work,
  • listen to your views,
  • feedback the difference you have made, 
  • offer opportunities to help shape our services.

When changes to health services are proposed, we make sure we arrange appropriate public and patient involvement activities for all sections of the community including people that can be harder to hear. 


Our population

Somerset covers 3,452 square kilometres and has an estimated population of 555,195 people. Around 580,000 people are registered with GP practices in Somerset. We work closely with partners involved with Somerset Intelligence to understand our population and ensure that our engagement represents the communities involved. 


Our plans


Boards and committees

We have 52 People Champions who provide the public voice on 12 committees and groups across the organisation.

Our Governing Body has three unpaid People Champions and two paid statutory People Champions. Healthwatch Somerset and our Patient Participation Group network are represented.

Our constitution sets out how we involve the public in our governance. 

Our Somerset Engagement and Advisory Group provide assurance to the Governing Body on the engagement that we have carried out. Membership to this group consists of 140 people representing a broad range of voluntary and community sector organisations and local communities.

Our links with the Patient Participation Group Chairs network ensures that we hear the public voice from GP surgeries across Somerset.

We continually monitor patient experience of health services in Somerset through the following methods


Working with our commissioned services

As a commissioner of services in Somerset, it is also our job to check that GP practices and providers of hospital, community and other services properly engage and consult with patients, carers and the public about their plans, especially if that involves changes to services.

We constantly review the performance of the services we commission to make sure they’re providing not only value for money but high quality, safe care for everyone in Somerset. Alongside reporting and assessing the quality of care, an important part of this is seeking the views of the public and patients. These are some of the ways we hold our providers to account:

  • We monitor feedback from our Patient Advice and Liaison service (PALs) and complaints at monthly intelligence meetings to identify trends.
  • We attend the Yeovil District Hospital monthly patient and public involvement meetings.
  • We look at Friends and Family Test scores from each hospital.