04 April 2019, 14:00

Communications and engagement

NHS communication teams have joined together as a network to deliver and facilitate engagement with stakeholders about the ICS, what its key priorities will be and how the system in the North East and North Cumbria will work in the future. We will also be working with local authority teams.

A communication and engagement group has been established to oversee and lead this work which includes co-ordinating communications with staff and partners around the emerging ICS, as well as supporting other ICS work programmes.

A key element of this work will be to engage with staff and communities about how health and social care is changing, the challenges it faces with a growing and ageing population, and the need to support people to live happier and healthier lives. This includes working closely with local Healthwatch organisations and other partners to ensure widespread engagement and effective approaches.

The network includes representation from NHS communications leads from providers, NHS England, commissioners and North of England Commissioning Support (NECS).

Some of the key steps include:  

A new website for the ICS is being developed with a launch planned for April. This will provide an accessible, up-to-date platform for sharing key documents and information about progress towards becoming an ICS. It will also facilitate two-way engagement with key stakeholders and provide a consultation portal, allowing for online surveys, research and promotion of events, including the ability to capture contact details.

Hitting the road … being part of the conversation
Working in partnership with local authority and NHS representatives, a highly visible ‘conversation’ roadshow will visit major areas across the region. The aim will be to engage and listen to staff and the public about their views, fears and ambition for the NHS, further stimulate the debate around key areas for our ICS, and seek feedback on key areas.

A series of campaigns are being developed to engage with members of the public, staff and stakeholders around health and wellbeing, the ever-changing role of the NHS and the challenges it faces with a growing and ageing population.

Working with our partners and networks

Our engagement with overview and scrutiny committees and health and wellbeing boards across the region continues. We are working at local and regional levels to link up and support networks across the ICS footprint.

Healthwatch organisations in the North East and North Cumbria have been funded to support us in developing approaches to explaining, engaging and involving the public about our ICS and the NHS Long Term Plan. 

  • We have commissioned Tell Us North to lead and support a co-ordinated collaboration across local Healthwatch geographical boundaries. This includes providing representation across our programmes of work and facilitating a network of local Healthwatch organisations to act as a ‘critical friend’ in developing approaches to engaging and involving the public.
  • Healthwatch Darlington has been commissioned to lead on engagement with the public about the NHS Long Term Plan in the North East, linking with North Cumbria, which has already started this work. 

Engagement will be focused on the discussion areas below, which align the NHS Long Term Plan with priorities for the ICS. These are:

  • Dementia
  • Self-care/management
  • Mental health for young people
  • Long term health conditions
  • Autism
  • Palliative care
  • Technologies in primary care
  • Mental health for adults

For more information, contact


Lay member and non-executives network

A non-executive and lay member community network - with representation from providers and CCGs across the North East and North Cumbria - is being established to strengthen the patient voice across commissioner and provider organisations and develop a ‘critical friend’ role to ensure we adopt a strategic approach to engagement.

An event for NHS chairs took place on 6 March to further develop networks and wider understanding of what an ICS means for our region - including its priorities, governance and ongoing involvement and briefing arrangements for non-executives, lay members and chairs.

Led by Sir John Burn, chairman of Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the event included a keynote speech from Alan Milburn on the changing demands on healthcare and the need for NHS organisations to work together as systems.

A closing speech from Brendan Foster highlighted the potential we have to capitalise on the ‘Great North’ brand and do more to promote active lifestyles as part of the Great North Run’s 40th anniversary this year.

For more information, contact


Patient and public involvement network

A newly-invigorated network for NHS staff working in patient and public engagement, involvement and patient experience is looking at how professionals can work more closely together. The network has developed an online forum for professionals, and is now developing collective training and further networking.

For more information, contact

New networking online collaboration platform

A new online space has been launched to support networking for patient and public voice and patient experience professionals in order to support the implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan.

The platform supports virtual ways of working and includes message sharing, online workshops and tools, and sharing of best practice. New members are welcome to join, please email and you will be sent an invitation.

Contact Information

Integrated Care System
North of England Commissioning Support Unit