Working with Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group to engage meaningfully with the community about intermediate care

The beginning.

Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) approached Co:Create to work with them to put their patients, future patients and carers at the centre of the development of intermediate care. Before we arrived an enormous amount of work had been done collecting and analysing the data, desk-based research and collecting stories and insights from staff and patients. This information had built the case for change and now they wanted to delve deeper into what really mattered to the users of the service and to see how they could meaningfully engage and capture their vital perspective.  

The story.

We worked together to identify the priorities, which were to understand the barriers and drivers for users accessing services to anticipate and incorporate these into the model design. Co:Create invited Doncaster CCG's Project Manager to present her story and strategy at a Behavioural Insights training day we were hosting to utilise this tool in their approach.  Co:Create conducted four patient and carer engagement workshops in bed-based services and community groups as well as an online survey and 1-1 interviews with past patients in their homes. The stories and themes were fed back to the project board, which included senior decision makers in the CCG and services. These stories and nuggets of insight challenged preconceptions about what patients and carers needed and whet the appetite to discover more.

What you’ve done is made me realise that we assume what people want, but we don’t really know and we need to find out.
— Chief Operating Officer, Doncaster CCG

The project team had a drive and passion to be innovative in order to get the best service possible, and as a result decided to pilot a rapid response team for those who had fallen in their home. A simulation was conducted with staff, and Co:Create suggested that another was completed with patients and carers in attendance... and the project team bravely said yes!

The event was hosted in a beautiful room with a great lunch, tea, coffee and lots of cake. Co:Create wanted everyone in the room to feel cared for, as a number of very busy front-line professionals came during their time off to attend as well as frailer older people. It felt exciting and nerve wracking to have so many people in the same room with an equal say on a new service. 

We recreated a living room with colourful props and some brave front-line staff role-played key points on the service journey in front of a diverse audience of patients and staff, from physiotherapists to paramedics. A squeaky toy could be used to interrupt, ask a question or make a suggestion based on the patient or carer experience. Attendees fed back that it was interesting to be in a room with so many different professionals and to hear directly back from patients and carers. Key areas of the journey, particularly around communication, were flagged and acted upon. 

The next chapter.

Co:Create and Doncaster CCG have met to review the value and learning from our relationship so far and the key things that have come out of this are that Co:Create has added value through:

· Strengthening relationships with partners.

· Encouraging the commissioning team to think differently.

· Challenging to engage more creatively.

· Bringing fun and positivity.

· Adding capacity to allow them to experiment and learn from different engagement methods.

In the final three months of this project we will be focusing our engagement with seldom heard groups. To complete the project we will be working alongside Doncaster CCG to collate all the insights so that they can be communicated in a meaningful and clear way to decision makers and practitioners.


Emma Ward