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Patient, carer and public involvement

Contact: (0191) 233 6161 extn 27740 - Mrs Caroline McGarry, Patient and Public Involvement Co-ordinator

Introduction and background

The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is committed to patient, carer and public involvement at all levels to ensure our services are planned around the needs of patients and that continuing improvements in the patient experience are achieved.


To find out more about the Trust's vision, aims and values please click here.

How do we achieve this?

The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is following government legislation and guidance, starting from the NHS plan 2000 to date. Our focus will be on the outcomes for patients and learning from the patient experience. This will be of great importance in designing and improving services. This will ensure the involvement of patients, carers and the public at all levels.

Foundation Trust Status

The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust was successful in becoming an NHS Foundation Trust from 1 June 2006. This meant that the Trust set up local governance arrangements, rather than receiving central direction from the Government. These arrangements make the Trust accountable to local communities and staff, allowing them much greater influence over the way the services are delivered and developed by the Trust and allow them to have more say in how our hospitals are run.

 As an NHS Foundation Trust we are able to respond more readily to the needs of patients and the local community. We have more flexibility in how resources are used and greater opportunities to obtain capital to invest in facilities and equipment which will really make a difference to the experience of patients and the working environment for staff.

 NHS Foundation status gives:

  • More say for patients, public and staff
  • Greater opportunities for staff
  • More freedom over our finances
  • More flexibility to meet local needs with partners  

As an NHS Foundation Trust we have a membership made up of (i) Public members and (ii) staff members. Members are able to stand for election and elect representatives to the Council of Governors. Governors receive information about developments and services within the Trust and are able to contribute their ideas and suggestions. Members receive a twice-yearly newsletter ‘Newcastle Cares’.

Trust structures

As well as the involvement of the Council of Governors, The Trust established an Involvement and Equalities Steering Group (IESG) in 2009 which reports to the Clinical Governance and Quality Committee. Three Groups report into the IESG. They are:

·Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Working Group – Membership comprises of Trust staff and representatives from a number of local community and stakeholder groups including the Council of Governors.

·Trust Public Health Group – Membership comprises of Trust and primary care staff and patient representatives.

·Patient, Carer and Public Involvement Group – This Group brings together representatives from the Trust as well as being the conduit of the various involvement mechanisms i.e. Local Involvement Network (LINk), Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), Community Advisory Panel (CAP) and Council of Governors. The Group also monitors the Patient Information policy via feedback from the Patient Information Review Panel. 

The structures outlined above aim to strengthen involvement and equality in the work of the Trust by building on the well-established structures and practices. The Trust will continue the work already underway and ensure a high level of interaction in order that we do not simply examine the delivery of current services but also gain active engagement and involvement regarding future developments for all sectors of our potential patient population.

Links with Universities

As a major teaching hospital trust, it is vital that we link our patient, carer and public involvement strategy with that of the local Universities in order to ensure that this partnership is embedded in the training, research and practice of our staff.

Developing patient, carer and public involvement

The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will continue to develop and monitor services with input from the Trust membership to enable the changing needs of the population to be achieved. We know that:

  •  As services change and transform, patients, carers and the public need to have a say on how these changes affect them and how they use services.
  • The people who use our services are the true experts on how services can be developed and improved. We should consider all services and developments by ‘seeing things through patient’s eyes’ using patient feedback and work with the community/voluntary sector to achieve this.
  • We need to improve patient, carer and public involvement in work beyond information giving to influencing decisions at the very start of the planning process.
  • Involvement will help the Trust to effectively use resources to meet the needs and preferences of the population we serve.
  • Patient, carer and public involvement is part of national and local government initiatives and legislation.

The Trust’s Involvement with the public ensures that members of society feel valued and have ownership of their health services.

Our priorities for patient, carer and public involvement

In order to enable and ensure patient, carer and public involvement within the Trust, our priorities for the next year are to:

  •  Work harder to reach out to ‘seldom-heard’ groups by developing links within local communities. We will go out to those communities and work with voluntary and community organisations that support and represent them to inform them of Trust developments. We will invite comments and respond to feedback about the Trust.
  • Make more explicit how we respond to engage with and listen to patient feedback from various sources. This will include the implementation of a system for capturing, reporting and responding to real-time patient feedback.
  • Engage the matrons more actively in developing involvement within their areas. Matrons are central to the development and subsequent delivery of this strategy and plan. Work will be undertaken with matrons to understand the support that they require to engage not only with their patients and their carers but also with staff to develop a culture where everyone takes responsibility for ensuring that all patients report a good experience when using our services.
  • To further understand and provide evidence of how directorates use patient feedback e.g. via complaints or PALS and share good practice within the Trust


For further information about the Trust Patient, Carer and Public involvement strategy, please contact Caroline McGarry, Involvement and Equalities Officer on 0191 2336161 x 27740 (

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