As part of Sussex Health and Care Partnerships’ commitment to patient and public involvement, a project to introduce volunteer Community Ambassadors across Sussex was launched in September 2019. Funding was awarded to the Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups to lead the 12-month project.

The Community Ambassador Project will support the Sussex Health and Care Partnership to:

  • Increase the amount of feedback and intelligence we receive from our patients, carers and communities, which in turn ensures our services are responsive to need.
  • Embed the “lay” perspective in Sussex wide NHS programmes.
  • Increase our reach to communities we struggle to hear from.
  • Support our commissioners to ensure that the patient view is central to commissioning plans for specific pathways.

What is a community ambassador?

Community ambassadors 1

Community ambassadors will play a key role in helping the Sussex Health and Care Partnership understand what is important to local people and make sure NHS services are what people need.

The purpose of the role is to:

  1. Understand the key health and social issues for the local area.
  2. Hear from and talk with local people.
  3. Work with clinicians and managers on specific projects and tasks.
  4. Review documents to make sure they make sense.
  5. Involve local people so they are heard.

There are three types of community ambassador roles:

  • Community Ambassador (Strategic) – an office based role, providing advice and support to Sussex wide NHS programmes, helping to make decisions about our services
  • Community Ambassador (Engagement) – a community based role, helping us to promote and share information and capture people’s views
  • Community Ambassador (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion) – a community based role, helping us to promote and share information and capture people’s views specifically linking with communities that the health and care services struggle to hear from

It is anticipated that the first cohort of community ambassadors will be in their voluntary roles by May 2020.

Community ambassador task and finish group

A Task and Finish group has been established to oversee the design and development of the Community Ambassador Project, compromising of four Public Members, Healthwatch, a voluntary sector organisation, an Engagement Champion from Horsham and Mid Sussex CCG, a member of staff from Brighton and City Council, a member of staff from East Sussex County Council, a member of staff from West Sussex County Council and representatives from the Sussex CCGs’ Public Involvement Team.

The papers for the Task and Finish Group are available below:

  • Thursday 5th December 2019
  • Monday 16th December 2019
  • Thursday 9th January 2020 (to follow)
  • Thursday 23rd January 2020 (to follow)
  • Monday 16th March 2020 (to follow)
  • Monday 18th May 2020 (to follow)
  • Monday 13th July 2020 (to follow)
  • Thursday 20th August 2020 (to follow)

For further information about the project, please contact Isabel Costello (Sussex CCGs’ Senior Public Involvement Officer, isabel.costello1@nhs.net, 07920244988).