By: Gill Wagstaff and Laurie McMahon
In Issue 15 of the Faversham Eye we wrote about the trials and tribulations of our health and care services. Towards the end of the piece, we talked about the possibility of setting up a citizen-based project to understand how best Faversham’s future needs might be met. Well, we can report good progress!
No matter how the current crises get resolved, we need a clear view of the future health and care needs of the town and surrounding villages to guide decisions of planners and politicians. Unfortunately, the NHS, though getting better, has not been that good at planning for small, relatively self-contained (but growing!) communities like ours.
With this in mind, patient representatives from our two GP practices talked about the problem and contacted a health research group at the University of Kent. They were really helpful and an outline project design emerged. We then talked to the Community Committee of Faversham Town Council and as a result the Faversham Healthy Futures (FHF) project was born.
At the time of writing we are about to begin Stage 1. This is a ‘pop-in’ exhibition in the town hall which runs from the 25th to 29th of April – but it may be open longer if there is sufficient interest. There are guides to talk people though things and to listen to people’s views. We hope you managed to pop-in!
If you couldn’t make it to the exhibition your views need not be lost. This is because the team have developed a questionnaire that is being sent out by Faversham Town Council. If you prefer you can access the questionnaire on line – see details below. All the information you give will be in confidence and will help us understand how people feel about health and health care and what developments they would like to see in the future.
The team will then prepare a report that we will present initially to the Faversham Town Council. We can also present the findings to Councils in the neighbouring villages where people that use Faversham’s primary care services live. We will prepare a piece for the Faversham Eye and then publish the report online for all participants and the wider public to see.
DESIGNING PHASE 2
We can then move on to Stage 2 where we intend to form a Citizen Panel that can work with researchers, planners and providers to develop a picture of the services Faversham residents will need in the future and what resources– staff, technology and buildings - will be required to deliver them. (See more on this below.)
Page from a recent Faversham Healthy Futures Power Point presentation
ENGAGING OUR ‘FRIENDS’
We hope a large number of local people will say that they want to stay informed about the progress of their Faversham Healthy Futures project. We will provide them regular updates on the development of the next phase. We will also be able to respond to any ideas or concerns they may have.
DEVELOPING ‘CITIZEN- EXPERTS’
For those of you that might want to stay more directly involved, we hope to gather together a representative group of local people and develop their understanding of the complexities and trade-offs involved in planning health and care services. Then, though a facilitated process, we hope that this group will go on to engage directly with planners, providers and policy makers to help understand how we can all make Faversham a healthier place.
To access the Faversham Healthy Futures questionnaire use this https://qrco.de/fh