Seldom Heard Groups Project

Who is involved and what are the benefits?

Community Groups, self help groups, GPs, NHS professionals and commissioners.

Over the last 5 years the project has distributed over £130,000 of grants to over 40 Community and Health groups in the Borough. The project managed and distributed the grants on behalf of the Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group. Groups used their grants to collect the thoughts and opinions of their communities and carry out activities around specific health care issues.

Training and Capacity Building Sessions  

To sustain and develop the groups some of the NHS funding has this year been used to help then build their capacity. In addition to asking groups to use the grant to promote their health concerns we offered two half day training session to develop the confidence of service users with the aim of helping them to sustain their organisations.

A condition of the grant was that someone from the group should attend the NHS group ‘Thinking Partners’. As a result of this project the diversity and number of ‘Thinking Partners’ attendees has risen significantly.

Why- the Aims of the project

  • To enable seldom heard communities to publicise their health concerns and bring them to the attention of healthcare providers and commissioners. 
  • To empower seldom heard communities to speak out, engage and work effectively through coproductive relationships with decision makers in to improve health care. 
  • To redefine, improve and develop patient and public involvement within the NHS and build it in to it’s day to day processes. 
  • To open up a balanced and reciprocal dialogue between health care professionals and the communities they work with.  
  • Educate and inform NHS professionals and commissioners about the issues and concerns felt by the communities they serve, particularly marginalised groups.
  • Challenge professionals to listen to, hear and act upon what the communities they work with are telling them.
  • Improve health outcomes in the borough, particularly for marginalised groups. 

Whats changed as a result of the project?

The number of groups receiving funding has grown steadily over the 5 years. As a result of the project, the voice of the community and service user groups is being heard and acted upon in the NHS, and many medical practitioners have taken part in meeting these groups. Over 40 meetings have taken place, and feedback from GPs and service users has been overwhelmingly positive. As a result of this project patient and public involvement with the NHS in Wandsworth has taken a big step forward.