Picture of Trevor Fernandes, Chair of the East of England Citizens' Senate

Interview with Trevor Fernandes, EoE Citizens' Senate

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We chatted to Trevor Fernandes, Chair of the East of England Citizens’ Senate, on the critical work the Senate does to champion the voice of patients, carers and families.

Please could you tell us about your current role and the work done by the Citizens’ Senate?

I am a Patient & Public Voice Partner, representing patient, carer and family perspectives in health care. I am a member of the National Strategic Coproduction Group and the Peer Leader Development Programme. I currently Chair and run the East of England Citizens’ Senate.

The EoE Citizens’ Senate is a source for informed patient involvement. It provides Clinical Networks and other regional healthcare structures with insight, information and views about services and service change from the perspective of patients and carers. Members of the Citizens’ Senate are all living with long-term conditions or are caring for others with debilitating illness and are actively involved in using their lived experience to inform programmes and projects, together with reviewing guidance and health policy

Where do you feel that the patient voice is most urgently needed in the current health and care system?

As the health landscape continues to evolve and technology plays a pivotal role in our health care, there is a risk that those who are digitally challenged may be left behind. Similarly, diversity and inclusion in health care planning is key to reaching all areas of the population. These are the areas where our voice is urgently required to support and encourage better outcomes. As the transformation develops, patients, carers and public must have a say in what matters to us and we must influence a more personalised approach in our care, whilst sharing in decisions and having choices about our care.

What are the biggest changes you have seen in patient and public involvement in healthcare in the last two decades?

The 2012 health & Social Care Act makes it a duty in law to involve patients and public in the planning and commissioning of health care. However it is only in the last 10 years that PPI has become less tokenistic and organisations are recognising the value of Patient & Public Involvement (PPI). Coproduction and equal partnerships are now becoming the norm, although there is still more to do. Following the Patient & Public Voice Partner Programme, the NHS has developed the Peer Leader Development Programme and the National Strategic Coproduction group, specifically to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence of patients & public to engage in a meaningful way with the system. I see the biggest changes and recognition of PPI in specific NHS programmes, such as My Planned Care, Virtual Wards, Proactive [email protected] and the Covid Taskforce. The Integrated Care Systems & Health care Partnerships are still in their infancy and have the potential for the greatest change in PPI

How do you see CareCompare fitting in to the wider health and care system?

CareCompare supports the new care models by offering patient choice and promoting Shared Decision making. I believe CareCompare has a role to play in personalised care commissioning and social prescribing in primary care, as well as a number of care pathways such as palliative and end-of-life care. As the Health Care Partnerships seek to integrate primary and community care, I see the potential for Councils, voluntary and community sector and other providers to refer to CareCompare.

Thank you so much for your time and all your support so far - we look forward to working even more closely with the Citizens’ Senate over the coming months!

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