Welcome to the East of England Citizens’ Senate
The group has been operational since 2014, when it was part of the NHS Strategic Clinical Networks. Since 2017, the Citizens’ Senate has been sponsored by Eastern Academic Health Science Network, who have recognised and valued our aims to have a voice and influence programmes and services.
Trevor Fernandes - Chair
I Chair and run the Citizens’ Senate and would welcome interested parties or citizens with similar interests and who are keen to have a voice in our ever-changing health landscape. We have regular opportunities for individuals to be involved in condition specific projects, but also wider involvement in national programmes, including research work.
Szara Coote - Administrator
I would also like to introduce you to Szara Coote, who is our administrator, moderator and ever dependable ‘go to’ person for direction and support. Szara monitors our membership contacts, as well as the Citizens’ Senate inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Supporting Patient Involvement
The Citizens’ Senate can be seen as a resource pool and source for informed patient involvement. It provides the Clinical Networks and other regional healthcare structures with insight, information and views about services and proposed redesign or service change from the perspective of patients and carers. Members of the CS live with long-term conditions or are caring for others with debilitating illness. They have current and relevant experience of services and are therefore considered ‘experts by experience’. They are actively involved with informing programmes and projects, together with reviewing health policy and guidance.
Patient and carer involvement has always been the ambition of the NHS. It is built into the NHS Constitution and was given legal force in the consolidated NHS Act 2006. The Health & Social Care Act 2012 makes it a duty in law to involve patients and carers in the design and delivery of our health service. There is now greater emphasis than ever on patient and carer participation.
Patient and Public Involvement in health and care, is a process that involves patients and carers as stakeholders, advisors and shared decision makers. Patient Involvement means more than just simply engaging people in discussions about services. Involvement means having the patient voice heard at every level of the service. The patient voice should be heard during the commissioning of health care, during the training of health personal and in the regulation of services.
The Citizens’ Senate meets virtually every 8 weeks. We invite guest speakers to share relevant and topical information, in order to help us engage effectively with the health system. We also create a safe space for members to share their involvement experience with the rest of the group - we feel this is an effective way to share information and learn and support each other.