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NHS launches public engagement network

A NEW initiative has been launched by NHS Shetland to allow the public to have a greater say on its services.

The first meeting of the Shetland public engagement network will take place on Monday to allow people to raise any concerns with staff.

NHS Shetland and the health and social care partnership Integration Joint Board (IJB) previously did not have a formal forum for public engagement.

While there have been recent public consultations and campaigns on single issues like patient travel, NHS Shetland said it had been keen to form a more regular feedback mechanism.

It will have a wider remit than the previous public partnership forum and submissions will also be taken online in addition to in person at meetings.

NHS Shetland, which is in the process of finding efficiencies to counter rising costs, said it is “essential that the community has a strong voice in the work being done to consider health and care service changes”.

Non-executive board member Natasha Cornick encouraged anyone interested in the future of the local health service to get involved.

“One of the primary reasons that I got involved in my role at NHS Shetland was because I wanted to use my own experiences and skills to positively influence our health and care system,” she said.

“Each of us has a vested interest in this system and each of us has our own experiences and skills which we can bring to the table.

“I think it is important to understand that we can take ownership of being a part of the solution in the face of challenging times in our health and care system.

So I would urge members of the public, from any walk of life, to have their say and help to shape fit for purpose, user focused services.”

The first meeting of the Shetland public engagement network will take place on Monday (26 February) at the NHS board headquarters at Montfield in Lerwick between 2pm and 4pm.

If you are interested in joining the new network, contact Edna Mary Watson on 01595 743377, e-mail edna.watson@nhs.net or Carolyn Hand on 01595 743064, e-mail arolyn.hand@nhs.net.

For those unable to attend the meeting, the NHS is asking people to tell them how they want to be involved, as well as potentially giving them suggestions for other dates, times and locations.

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