NHS England & NHS Improvement: Consultation

NHS England & NHS Improvement: Consultation - how MHRA engages with patients and the public

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) -  Open consultation: How should we engage and involve patients and the public in our work.

For more information please see the consultation page on the Agency’s website for further details, including a link to the online questionnaire and a downloadable version for those who would prefer to respond offline.

We are also promoting the consultation among all our relevant stakeholder networks, as well as through a news release and social media:










The consultation is open for 12 weeks and will close at 11.45pm on Monday 7th October 2019.

Giving people a voice on the future of the NHS in Hertfordshire today

Health Watch Herts.png

The NHS in Hertfordshire is changing, and it needs your help.

The Government is investing an extra £20bn a year in the NHS as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. Now you can help your local NHS invest in the right support by sharing your ideas with us.

Healthwatch Hertfordshire has launched ‘What Would You Do?’ to gather feedback from the public on ways to improve local NHS services.

 Your views matter.


 Take part in a short survey here and share your views about what would make health services in Hertfordshire better.

 (If the link doesn’t work, open http://www.healthwatch.co.uk/what-would-you-do in your browser)

 Focus Group

We are also running a focus group. The aim of this group is to find out about your experiences of personalised care across different services.

 Details for this focus group are:

Time: 10:00-13:30

Date: April 30th

Address: Healthwatch Hertfordshire, 1 Silver Court, Watchmead, WGC, AL7 1LT


If you would like to attend please email Priya, our Head of Research and Engagement to express your interest, or call us and ask for her on 01707 275 978.

Reasonable travel costs will be reimbursed, and lunch will also be provided.

Thank you

 Paul Regan

Communication & Engagement Officer

Tel: 01707 275978, Mob: 07964 560 304

Healthwatch Hertfordshire
1 Silver Court
Welwyn Garden City


 Company Limited by Guarantee, Registered in England, Charity number 1158089.

Registered Office 1 Silver Court, Watchmead, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 1LT

NHS England Health and Social Care Information - Short Survey

Using Health and Social Care Information – Short Survey

The Department of Health and Social Care would like to find out more about people’s experiences of using health and social care information.  They would be very grateful if people could complete a short survey – consisting of just five questions; and the option to be included in a future webinar.  The survey should take no more than approximately 5-10 minutes, and can be accessed here:



Please note that the survey will be open until midnight, Monday 15 April 2019.

CQC Inspection Results for West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust


Trust recognised as ‘good’ for caring as long term improvement journey continues

Care, commitment and the dedication of hardworking staff have led to West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust more than doubling the number of ‘good’ ratings since its first Care Quality Commission inspection in 2015.

The trust, which manages Watford General Hospital, Hemel Hempstead Hospital and St Albans City Hospital, now has 45 ‘good’ ratings compared with 20 in 2015 showing how dramatically the balance has tipped towards improvement.

Last autumn’s partial inspection covered urgent and emergency care, medical care, surgery and maternity at Watford General Hospital. The Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at St Albans City Hospital and the Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) at Hemel Hempstead Hospital were also inspected.

Inspectors noted that staff cared for patients with “compassion, kindness and respect” and were quick to commend examples of outstanding practice in the children’s emergency department, medical care and maternity at Watford General Hospital.

Bereavement care and support, multidisciplinary working in the dementia and stroke units and the ISeeU initiative in the maternity department (which enables mothers to stay connected to their newborns receiving care in the neonatal intensive care unit) were all praised.

The biggest uplift was in the emergency department (ED) at Watford General Hospital which has improved from ‘inadequate’ to ‘requires improvement’. And its assessment against the ‘well led’ domain has risen significantly by two ratings to ‘good’. The inspectors noted a “strong, supportive and visible leadership” reflecting the determined efforts of staff to make changes. They also commented on “an improvement in culture”.

In spite of a lower rating in the ‘safety’ domain for maternity, overall the picture at Watford General is extremely positive with a trend of continuous improvement and strengthening of services since 2015.

Feedback for the MIU at St Albans City Hospital has led to an ‘inadequate’ rating for this service and this has resulted in an overall ‘inadequate’ rating for St Albans City Hospital. The trust acted immediately to rectify issues raised by inspectors and has implemented an action plan for further improvements. The Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) at Hemel Hempstead Hospital was rated ‘requires improvement’ but inspectors observed “excellent multidisciplinary working” and the compassion of staff.

Surgery and outpatient services at St Albans are rated ‘good’ and these services care for the majority of patients who visit the hospital. Surgical staff were commended for “creating an environment in which excellence in clinical care would flourish”.

Trust chair Professor Steve Barnett said: “We have achieved these positive results in spite of the challenges raised by operating in buildings across three sites that are past their best. I’m immensely proud of the dedication of our staff who continue to deliver the very best care for our patients in a far from ideal environment. I’m delighted that the funding is almost within reach to help us make progress with our redevelopment plans which are gathering pace. The strength of West Herts lies in its people and on my last day as trust chair, I can confidently say that I’m leaving the trust in safe hands and that a bright future beckons for staff and patients.”

Acting chief executive Helen Brown said: “I’m delighted that the inspectors have recognised the work of our hard working and compassionate staff. Congratulations to staff in our children and young people’s service at Watford, and the surgery team at St Albans for achieving ‘good’ for all aspects of their services. And praise must go to the emergency department team at Watford for jumping up two ratings to achieve ‘good’ for leadership. This is remarkable given the pressures they work under.

“I fully recognise that our improvement journey has a long path. Naturally, we’re hugely disappointed with the ratings for our Minor Injuries Unit and the Urgent Treatment Centre and our teams are working hard to make improvements. Local residents should still feel confident that they will receive appropriate care from the two services.”

Read the full report here

Patient and Public Voice Partners needed for Quality of Life after Cancer Treatment Project

NHS England is seeking to recruit Patient and Public Voice (PPV) Partners to join the Steering Group for the Quality of Life after cancer treatment project. The group has been established to support NHS England to deliver a pilot project. The aim of the pilot project is to test whether collecting data about Quality of Life from cancer patients can help us to better understand quality of life after cancer.

The role of  PPV Partners on the committee will be to:

  • Represent a range of people affected by cancer who use health services in England.

  • Use their experience and knowledge to provide advice on how proposals may impact on people with cancer.

  • Draw on the views and experience of other cancer support or community groups (if they are a member), so that the work is informed by a broad range of perspectives.

  • Constructively challenge the thinking of healthcare professionals where/when necessary.

PPV Partners can receive an involvement payment of £150 per day (more than four hours) or £75 per half day (four hours or less) for an estimated commitment of six days per year. NHS England will reimburse standard rate travel expenses and subsistence in line with the NHS England Patient and Public Voice Expenses policy. Membership of the group is for 12 months initially, at which point membership will be reviewed.

For more information: https://www.england.nhs.uk/participation/get-involved/opportunities/

To request an application pack, please contact Bijal.Purohit@nhs.net


Closing Date is 18th November

National Patient Safety Alert Committee

We are recruiting


If you have a desire to ensure that health and care organisations take action in response to identified patient safety risks, we would like to hear from you!


Every year, over 100 messages, instructions, guidance, alerts and other communications are directed at healthcare providers through the Central Alerting System, requiring a variety of types of action, and issued by a number of different bodies and teams, in a range of formats. However, to date, the safety advice and guidance issued to the NHS does not have sufficient impact on the safety of patients, as not all organisations are reliably implementing the required actions.


Improving the response to patient safety alerts

The National Patient Safety Alert Committee (NaPSAC) has been newly set up with a remit to clearly identify which nationally-issued patient safety advice and guidance is safety-critical. To do this, it is putting in place common standards, so that all the organisations which issue patient safety alerts make it clear when action is needed in response to safety-critical communications.

NaPSAC is committed to involving patients, service users, carers and families and the general public in this work. We know that you will bring a wealth of insight, perspectives, expertise and experience that can help to challenge thinking, innovate and improve the way the committee carries out its work.


What does it involve?

As a patient and public voice (PPV) representative you would need to attend the regular NaPSAC meetings, held about every two months, and take an equal part in its deliberations and decision-making.  The committee is currently working to agree the criteria and approach to ‘credentialing’ the organisations which issue patient safety alerts.

Once these are in place, between meetings, all the committee members, including PPV representatives, will be involved in the assessment of applications from organisations looking to become ‘credentialed’. 

It is estimated that attending meetings and carrying out assessments would require up to two days’ involvement per month initially, reducing to up two days quarterly, once assessments of current issuing bodies were complete.  PPV representatives will receive travel expenses and a per-day allowance of £150 per day, or £75 per half day, for the time spent on NaPSAC activities in accordance with NHS Improvement’s agreed rating and terms for patient and public involvement at level four.


How to apply:

If you are interested in getting involved, please see the full role description here and application form here.

Applications should be sent to cindy.taplin@nhs.net by deadline 18th November 2018.

We will be in touch to arrange a short telephone interview for short-listed potential PPV representatives to join NaPSAC as committee members.

The PPV partners recruited will be provided with a full briefing on the work of NaPSAC, the background to how patient safety alerts are drawn up and circulated, the criteria against which bodies wishing to be credentialed will need to meet and the assessment process for this.

NaPSAC is committed to providing the necessary access and support to enable PPV representatives to fully contribute to the work.


If you have difficulty accessing the forms or need to receive them in other formats, please contact cindy.taplin@nhs.net or call on 07710 119361. If you would like to discuss the opportunities before expressing interest, email Cindy using the details above.  

Recovery Conference


We would like to welcome people using local services, carers, professionals and members of the public to join us for a day of learning and networking

We will be holding a local recovery conference, from 10am to 4pm, at the following venues :

In addition we will be holding an evening event, from 6.00 to 8.30pm, at:

We would like to encourage you to attend the event at your closest location. Please book via the Eventbrite links above or by calling Divya Nair on
01438 730802.

We are planning to offer free transport for people using local services, and carers, depending on the level of demand. Please make sure you tell us your closest town on your registration form.

15 Steps Challenge


We are looking for volunteers to support us with the 15 step challenge across our community bed bases. The 15 step challenge was sparked by a quote from a parent who said” I know what kind of care my daughter is going to get within 15 steps of walking onto a ward”  The  challenge focuses on seeing care through the eyes of patients and exploring first impressions. As a result staff can understand what is working and where services can be improved. It is nationally recognised as good practice to use the 15 Step regularly to review services.

The 15 step challenge team will be visiting Potters Bar Hospital on Wednesday 30th August from 10 to 2. The day starts with a half hour training session to introduce the 15 step challenge  and answer any questions. The challenge involves a walk around the ward with a chance to talk to patients about their experience on the ward. There will be regular refreshment breaks and lunch provided. The visit concluded with feedback to the ward manager about the teams observations.

One of our 15 step challenge volunteer gave the following advice, “ Be prepared to listen to what staff and patients have to say and be observant with all your senses.”

To take part volunteers need to join Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust as a volunteer. A member of staff from the 15 Step Challenge team will meet with you as part of the application process.

The role description for the 15 Step Challenge can be viewed by clicking here as well as information about it from NHS England.

Further dates to take part will be available in September.

If you are interested please contact hct.engagement@nhs.net by 14th August to allow time to process your application.

Should you have any questions or would like more information please contact:


Hope and Opportunity Opening Doors


We would like to welcome people using local services, Carers, members of the public and colleagues, to join us at an opportunity to learn, share and network. 

Hope and Opportunity
Opening Doors….

The Stanborough Centre, Watford Monday 8 October (10.00am – 4.00pm) 

The Colonnades, Hatfield Tuesday 9 October (6.00pm – 8.30pm) 

Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre, Stevenage Wednesday 10 October (10.00am – 4.00pm) 

Wodson Sports and Leisure Centre, Ware Thursday 11 October (10.00am – 4pm)

Register your place online or call Divya on 01438 730802





View the poster here

Number of NHS beds for mental health patients slumps by 30%

Bed shortages in parts of England are so severe that patients are sometimes sent hundreds of miles from home.

The number of hospital beds for people with acute mental health conditions, where a consultant psychiatrist is on hand to oversee treatment, has fallen by almost 30% since 2009 despite repeated claims by ministers that improving care for the mentally ill is now a top priority.

New official figures show that the number of beds for those with some of the most serious conditions – including psychosis, serious depression leading to suicidal feelings and eating disorders – has fallen from 26,448 in 2009 to 18,082 in the first quarter of this year.

Read the full article here:


New Gender Identity Blog from NHS England

Next steps in shaping the future of specialised gender identity services

Much work continues in NHS England to shape the future of specialised gender identity services. We have convened a Programme Board for Gender Identity Services that I chair.

The Board is responsible for making recommendations to the Specialised Commissioning Oversight Group, and its scope and membership can be found on the gender identity services clinical reference group page. The Board’s independent members were appointed through an open recruitment process.

I’m pleased to announce the publication of the report of the independent analysis of responses to our consultation on proposed service specifications. We had significant interest in the consultation – over 800 respondents, and I want to thank everyone who took part either in writing or by attending one of our events.

Read the full blog via this link New Gender Identity Blog from NHS England

Online Consultations Survey

Online consultations: an alternative way to have a consultation from your GP – surveys now open for your views

NHS England is gathering views on an alternative way for patients and carers to have a consultation with their practice.

Online Consultations are a way for patients to contact their GP practice without having to wait on the phone or take time out to come into the practice. Using a smartphone, tablet or computer, you can contact your practice about a new problem or an ongoing issue. You can ask questions or tell your GP about your symptoms. The practice will ensure your contact is dealt with by the right person in the team, helping ensure you are served as quickly and appropriately as possible. Sometimes this will mean you will need a phone call with the GP or nurse, or an appointment at the practice, and this will be arranged as usual.

Lots of people are already using practice websites to make an appointment, get test results, order a repeat prescription or to view their summary records, so this is a simply a further service being made available to current systems.

We want to find out what you think about using online consultation with your GP practice (not about hospital appointments).

This short survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete and we would really like to hear what you think. The survey is open from Tuesday 08 May and closes on Friday 15 June 2018.

You can find out much more about the programme on the NHS England website – including a link to an online survey to give us your views www.england.nhs.uk/ocsf/ 

For more details about this research project, email england.onlineconsultation@nhs.net.


Urgent Notification: Flu Pressure on Local Hospitals

hcpa logo.png

HCPA recently received an urgent alert from both Herts Valleys and East and North Herts Clinical Commissioning Groups regarding increased pressure on local hospitals due to 'Flu like' symptoms in service users, which they would like for us to share with all our members.

Please see below for the full message: 

We are asking all care providers to refer any ‘Flu like’ symptoms in service users to your GP or OOHs doctor in the first instance, wherever possible, instead of A&E departments due to increased pressure on local hospitals.

As you are aware, cases of Flu cannot be confirmed until after swabs are taken. The District nursing service are working in conjunction with PHE to undertake this role,  and 111 or OOH Doctors are coming out to prescribe medication during the weekend period.

Your help in this matter, wherever possible, is much appreciated. 

West Herts Urgent Care Consultation


Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)  is looking at how people access urgent care services in west Hertfordshire and specifically walk-in services at Hemel Hempstead Hospital including the Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) and West Herts Medical Centre (WHMC). To help us make decisions about these services we will be seeking your views.

All of the information for the consultation is available here:  www.hertsvalleysccg.nhs.uk/urgentcareconsultation

Details of the consultation public meetings are below – to help with arrangements it would be useful if you could confirm attendance by emailing communications.hvccg@nhs.net

Monday 12 February

7 – 9pm

Berkhamsted Civic Centre, 161 High Street, Berkhamsted, HP4 3HB


Wednesday 21 February

7 – 9pm

South Hill Centre, Cemetery Hill, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1JF


Tuesday 20 March

7 – 9pm

Hertsmere Borough Council, Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood, WD16 1 WA


Wednesday 21 March

7 – 9pm

St Albans Patient Group public meeting,

St Albans District Council Offices, St Peters Street, St Albans, AL13JE

More information: www.sapg.org.uk


Thursday 22 March

7 – 9pm

West Herts College, Watford Campus, Hempstead Road, Watford WD17 3EZ



NHS Over the Counter (OTC) Consultation

NHS England tablets.jpg

Please find below dates for the patient and public face to face meetings and webinars for the Over the Counter (OTC) consultation. 
These can also be found on the consultation webpage https://www.engage.england.nhs.uk/consultation/over-the-counter-items-not-routinely-prescribed/

Face to face

Conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: consultation meeting


Conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: consultation webinar

Lister hospital under extreme pressure – please keep A&E free for genuine emergencies


The Lister hospital in Stevenage is under extreme pressure, due to the number of very sick patients needing to be admitted.

Emergency department doctors are asking people not to go to A&E unless it’s a life or limb-threatening emergency, or if they have been advised to go there by a healthcare professional.

People who have an urgent need for medical advice have three options:

  • Speak to a local pharmacist; many pharmacies have private consulting rooms
  • Call NHS 111 – a free 24/7 service accessible from any phone, where you can get advice over the phone from a range of clinicians
  • Consult the online NHS Choices website – www.nhs.uk 

The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust is working very closely with its colleagues in community and social care to do everything possible to ensure patients attending the Lister get the care they need.  At the same time, they are making sure that those who are well enough can be discharged home or on to the next stage in their care.

The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust is working very closely with its colleagues in community and social care to do everything possible to ensure patients attending the Lister get the care they need.  At the same time, they are making sure that those who are well enough can be discharged home or on to the next stage in their care.

Across the country, the NHS is under extreme pressure.  The Trust is prioritising the welfare of the very sickest patients who need immediate life-saving care, and have brought in all available additional staff to help, in line with locally agreed winter plans.  Anyone coming to the Lister’s emergency department with a minor illness or injury is very likely to face a very long wait.  Please use alternative services and keep A&E for those who are gravely ill or injured. 

The release is jointly issued by East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust and East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group. 

Stay Well This Winter

NHS Herts Valleys Logo.jpg

This year we expect a much worse flu season than last year, so people are being urged to get their flu jab. Staying free of flu is more important than ever.

The vaccine is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and its complications. Some groups are entitled to a free flu vaccine.

Flu vaccination is particularly important for those who are at increased risk from the effects of flu, including:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children aged 2 or 3
  • People aged 65 or over
  • People with long-term health conditions
  • Carers

Click here for more information

NHS Baby .png

NHS Service Changes in Hertfordshire

NHS Herts Valleys Logo.jpg

A joint committee made up of representatives from both Herts Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have announced a number of decisions about NHS services in the county.

These decisions follow a 10 week extensive public consultation;  Let’s Talk, on a series of proposals designed to make the best use of the money and resources available to the local NHS and encourage people to live healthier lives, avoiding preventable illnesses. All proposals were debated in full and members of the public had the opportunity to make representations in front of the committee.

The changes are:

  • Morbidly obese patients with a BMI over 40 will be required to reduce their weight by at least 15% before accessing nonurgent surgery and for those with a BMI of over 30, we are looking for a reduction of 10%. These criteria will apply unless waiting for surgery would be more harmful.
  • Smokers will be required to quit smoking before being referred for nonurgent surgery, unless waiting for surgery would be more harmful for them.
  • Gluten- free food will no longer be available on prescription, with the exception of those patients with learning disabilities or where there are welfare concerns.
  • In future, people wanting a prescription for medicines, products and food items that are available to buy from pharmacies, supermarkets or shops for short-term conditions will need to purchase them directly, except in exceptional circumstances.
  • Female sterilisation will only be funded in exceptional circumstances, which would be assessed on a casebycase basis if alternative forms of longacting contraception are unsuitable.
  • IVF and other specialist fertility treatments will no longer be funded, except in exceptional circumstances.  This decision will be reviewed after one year, in the light of the financial position Herts Valleys finds itself in at that time.

A proposal to stop funding for vasectomies was rejected on the basis that this would not be cost-effective when the long-term cost of contraceptive services is taken into account.

During an extensive public engagement campaign - which included big public meetings, drop-in discussion events, press and social media – thousands of online and postal responses were received from members of the public, special interest groups, clinicians, local wellbeing groups and providers of services. The vast majority of the proposals received considerable public support.  

Dr Nicolas Small, Chair of Herts Valleys CCG said:

“None of these decisions have been taken lightly, but people understand that the NHS faces major challenges and must adapt to meet them.  There is wide public backing for most of the changes that have been agreed today – even from people who told us that they would be directly affected. 

“As we plan the implementation of today’s decisions over the months ahead, we will make sure that everyone who needs to make lifestyle changes, including those who need to lose weight or quit smoking, gets the information and support they need to succeed.

“Although we are asking people to take more responsibility for some aspects of their healthcare where possible, we won’t be withdrawing any support from people who are not able to do this.  GPs will still make decisions based on the individual needs of their patients, and will be able to refer individual cases to a specialist decision-making panel if their patient faces exceptional clinical circumstances.

“Proposals on IVF services in particular generated strong feelings and it was an especially difficult decision. We have listened to the views of local people and I am pleased that we decided to review today’s decision in 12 months’ time in the context of our future financial position.

The changes will be implemented over the coming weeks and months, along with a public information campaign about the changes.

Click here for more information

Dual Diagnosis Protocol


The Dual Diagnosis operational Protocol is designed to give a clear framework within which Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust and Spectrum Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service staff can operate with regard to providing comprehensive service user focused services to those with Co-existing Mental Health and Substance Misuse Disorders (Dual Diagnosis).

Spectrum and Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust have clear agreements about how to meet the needs of those with co-existing mental health and substance misuse disorders (Dual Diagnosis), as defined in this protocol, under their care. These are based on the principle of working jointly to provide individualised packages of care that are most suited to individual service users, rather than allowing the ways services are organised to dictate how care is provided.

Click here to read the full document