Our partners and hard to reach groups

Our community members

North Durham Clinical Commissioning Group has a wide and well-established engagement structure including a variety of community members highlighted below.

The aim is to develop meaningful, diverse and continuous forms of engagement with our communities, including:

  • Patients
  • Carers
  • Members of the public

Locally the CCG also works closely with the North of England Commissioning Support Unit, neighbouring CCGs, NHS Trusts and other service providers, the Local Medical Committee, local councillors and local Members of Parliament.

Nationally the CCG engages regularly with the Department of HealthNHS England and the Care Quality Commission.

There are a number of ways through which our communities can influence the way local health services operate, which are shown above. The two groups outlined below represent practical examples of how patients can influence the services offered by their own GP surgery and strengthen partnership working with the CCG.

GP Practices

GP practices provide a mechanism for gathering patients’ views through Patient Participation Groups (PPGs). Most of our practices have their own PPG, comprising both virtual and / or physical groups. Most PPGs comprise patients and practice members of staff and meet regularly to discuss issues and concerns about the services and facilities offered by the practice to its patients. Ideally, each PPG would have a representative on the CCG wide Patient Reference Group that you can find out more about on this website.

Patient Groups

There are three localities in the North Durham CCG area – Durham, Chester-Le-Street and Derwentside – and each of the GP Patient Participation Groups can nominate a representative to attend the Patient Reference Group. PRGs provide vital sources of information and knowledge for commissioners. As such, the CCG is committed to supporting the development of PRGs and its members, and to ensure a two-way communication is in place to strengthen joined-up working with these groups. As part of this communication and information exchange, nominated representatives from the PRG also sit on the Patient, Public and Carer Engagement Committee, which is part of the CCGs formal governance structures.


Voluntary and community sector organisations and groups

Healthwatch County Durham is a statutory organisation created to gather and voice the views of local communities, see what works well and what can be improved across both health can care services. The CCG work closely on mutual projects, for example Stroke Services (in October 2017) in County Durham where Healthwatch supported the conversations with patients / public to inform the commissioning of Stroke services in our area. healthwatch have also been involved in undertaking an evaluation of the implementation of Care Navigation across County Durham. You can find out more about their work and keep up to date with the latest news on the Healthwatch website.


Investing in Children is an organisation that creates spaces for children and young people to come together and discuss ways of developing and improving health services and activities.  Investing in Children have two groups that the CCG work closely with. These are:

  • the Young Persons Health Group
  • The eXtreme Group.

Both of these groups have been instrumental in supporting us in gathering views from children and young people, in particular in relation to Children’s Integrated Therapies, the Young Peoples Mental health, Emotional Well-being and Resilience Plan and the continued reviews and implementation of the plan that partners across County Durham are working to deliver for young people.


Durham County Carers Support provide a wide range of information and services for people who are involved in providing care and support to a friend or relative. We know that Carers provide invaluable support to individual members of our community as well as complementing the work of health and care services. We also recognise the care and support needs that Carers have themselves as individuals and sometimes as a result of the role they have supporting others


Hard-to-reach communities

We are particularly aware that we need to build and maintain ongoing relationships with a wide range of diverse communities within our area, especially marginalised and vulnerable groups that may experience the greatest health challenges.

These may include:

  • Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community members
  • Homeless people
  • Young people
  • Anyone who has been or is being affected by any form of abuse (physical, sexual, financial, emotional)
  • Asylum seekers and refugees
  • Pregnant ladies or those on leave
  • Gypsy Romany Travellers
  • People with physical and/or learning disabilities
  • People who suffer from mental health problems
  • People who live in rural areas

To overcome some of the barriers that prevent the CCG from engaging with these groups and to build long-lasting trust and confidence in the relationships, we will use a number of different approaches, eg: develop better links with community representatives and voluntary sector organisations that have got direct access to specific groups and communities. By relying on a ‘trusted person’, it will be easier to make contacts, build rapport and work together on a regular basis.

Statutory partners

Community Pharmacists. Pharmacists play an integral part in primary care. The CCG works closely with patients so that they understand what is on offer to them to help them get better and to keep them well.  A community pharmacy can offer a wealth of advice without patients even needing to visit their GP.

Area Action Partnerships (Durham County Council) – There are fourteen Area Action Partnerships (AAPs) cover all areas of County Durham and have been set up to give people a greater choice and voice in local affairs.  The partnerships allow people to have a say on services, and give organisations the chance to speak directly to local communities. Members of CCG staff attend these meetings across the County to help share updates about the work that it is doing. By working in partnership they help ensure that the services of a range of organisations – including the county and town and parish councils, police, fire, health, and voluntary organisations – are directed to meet the needs of local people and focus their actions and spending on issues important to these local communities.


County Durham Health and Wellbeing Board. These were set established under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to act as a forum to bring together the NHS, Public Health, Adult Social Care and Children’s Services.  The Health and well-being board is hosted by local authorities and plan how best to meet the needs of the local population and tackle health inequalities