Engaging with local health partners

Understanding the NHS

If you find 'health' confusing, you are not alone. It is a complex system with many layers and organisations working within it.

Online resources

Our webpage An introduction to the NHS provides an overview of the main organisations and jargon.

You can also download our Introduction to the NHS briefing [PDF], which has guidance on how forums can start to influence health locally. This will be useful if you find the NHS confusing, haven't had much involvement with health services or want to understand who's who in health.

This King's Fund animation is a good explanation of the NHS's complexity.

Book a Contact workshop

We have an introductory workshop that forums can purchase to help understand the different organisations and terminology. The workshop will help you identify key points for influencing and engagement. It is aimed at forums that want a more bespoke, facilitated learning sessions.

Find out more on our training webpages.

Understanding the Five Year Forward View

If you want a more in-depth look at the NHS and its transformation plans, our briefing paper on the NHS Five Year Forward View [PDF] gives an overview.

The Five Year Forward View [PDF] is where the majority of the current 'transformation' programmes stem from - the driving force behind much of the current change the NHS. It also covers sustainability and transformation plans/partnerships.

Engaging with local health partners - a toolkit for parent carer forums

In 2015 we received funding from the Department for Education to boost parent carer participation in strategic health decision making.

Working with nine parent carer forums, we learnt that parent carer forums need to know who does what and when in local health commissioning and the duties of health partners in relation to the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) reforms.

Our Engaging with local health partners toolkit [PDF] explains health commissioning structures locally and nationally, answers the 'who does what' question and introduces some of the levers forums can access to influence local decision making.

Understanding and engaging with the NHS England Complex Needs Board

The Complex Needs Board is responsible for overseeing Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)'  implementation of the SEND reforms. Contact and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) representatives sit on the board.

The board has implemented a regional SEND network so every region and local NHS England office has a named SEND lead. The leads are responsible for overseeing the work of CCGs, including how they build strategic partnerships with parent carer forums.

If you want to contact your regional lead, get in touch with your parent participation adviser or our strategic health lead at lynnhoppenbrouwers@contact.org.uk

Find out more at NHS England.