A guide to how you can contribute to the picture of our local health care and support services.

Who is this guide for?

This guide is for anyone working in voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations in Bradford district and Craven.

It provides information about our local Grassroots insight system and how your organisation can contribute. It has been produced by NHS Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Engaging People, our VCS partners.

For more information about the Engaging People project, please visit the engaging people page of our website.

What is Grassroots?

Grassroots is an innovative system which brings together feedback from local people on their experiences of health and wellbeing services.

Gathering experiences from a variety of sources gives the CCG an overall picture of how well NHS-funded services are meeting the needs of our population.

It also helps identify where there are trends, gaps or issues.

Grassroots aims to:

  • put people’s experiences at the heart of the commissioning process
  • promote and embed the experiences of patients and carers within NHS culture
  • identify areas for further exploration through engagement projects.

The CCG is are responsible for planning, buying and monitoring local health services. The insight from Grassroots is used to inform decisions and help make local services better.

How is Grassroots used?

The information received is collated using an analytical system, which helps the CCGs’ engagement team to identify themes in people’s experiences.

  1. A Grassroots report covering these themes is produced every two months and shared across teams within the CCG. This insight is embedded in to our work through service
    design, quality and improvement processes. For example, when commissioners are reviewing a service or looking to create new pathways of care, they can start with an understanding of people’s recent experiences and needs.
  2. Grassroots is a valuable resource to understand people’s experiences of different services and around specific topics, such as mental health or cancer care.
  3. It means we can also support other providers and organisations, such as the Care Quality Commission, to better understand the views of people in Bradford district and Craven.

How does Grassroots make a difference?

Below are three recent examples of how feedback received has been used to improve services in Bradford district and Craven.

  1. We were given feedback which showed that D/deaf people have difficulties when visiting their GP practice. As a result of this feedback, the CCGs worked with local partner Bradford Talking Media on a toolkit for GP practices to help them support these people. This toolkit includes videos that help GP practice staff understand how D/deaf people can be better supported.
  2. We heard from carers that people were having to wait too long for equipment at home once they had been discharged from hospices. This was because the equipment could only be ordered by an occupational therapist.
    The CCGs worked with local care providers to change this process. Now equipment can be ordered directly by the hospice before a person goes home.
  3. We were told about variation in people’s experience of mental health crisis services. This variation was taken to the Bradford district and Craven Mental Health Partnership Board for discussion. There is now an active project, through voluntary and community sector organisations, to better understand people’s experiences.
    This work will help identify specific changes to be made to mental health crisis services.

What information is used in Grassroots?

A wide range of feedback goes into the Grassroots system. It can be:

  • about any local NHS-funded service, whether that is a GP, hospital, service in the community, maternity service, mental health service, ambulance or patient transport, pharmacy or VCS organisation providing health, care or support services.
  • positive, negative, mixed or indifferent.
  • about any aspect of someone’s experience, whether that’s communication, waiting times, staff attitudes, parking or something else.
  • written by the person themselves or shared by someone they’ve told.
  • fed in through a number of routes, including Healthwatch, Care Opinion, the NHS website, the Engaging People team, CCG social media channels, CCG complaints or voluntary sector.

Feedback should also be anonymous, which means that no personal data is included, nor are any contextual details that could identify a person. It should also ideally be about an experience in the last six months.

Here are some recent experiences which have been submitted to Grassroots:

“Someone we spoke to is really pleased to be able to have small operations and regular knee injections at their GP surgery, and said that this is much better than going to the hospital.”

“I recently attended the A&E at BRI with my elderly mother who fell at home. She was in a lot of pain and discomfort and was very distressed. We were taken to the hospital via an ambulance and arrived to a very busy department. My mother was seen by a triage nurse on arrival and was told to wait until she was called. We waited for almost an hour during which my mother was in a lot of discomfort and struggled to sit for such a long period. The doctor we finally saw was very kind and understanding. He offered my mother a bed to rest on whilst he checked her out. It
 took us a long time get seen but the care my mum received was good.”

“I have been with my practice for over 10 years. The doctors and staff are really helpful and kind when you need them. The only issue I have is about getting through to the surgery in the morning to book appointments. I can be waiting for up to half an hour and when I do finally get through I get told that all the appointments have gone. This has been ongoing and it can be very frustrating when you need to see the GP or nurse. I sometimes have to wait a few days before I get seen.”

How can you contribute to Grassroots?

To make sure people’s voices are heard from across our diverse communities, we are asking voluntary and community organisations to tell us about the feedback you hear.

You can make sure that the experiences of people you work with are being listened to by feeding them into Grassroots anonymously. The CCG values the unique insight of people who work in the voluntary and community sector. You have strong relationships with the local population, from a wide variety of groups.

There are four easy ways to contribute. All feedback comes to the same place, so choose the option that suits you and your organisation best.

  • speak to someone from the Engaging People team who will feed in the experience on your behalf. You’ll see them at meetings or events or you can contact them using the information below.
    HALE: 01274 271088,
    CNet: 01274 305045,
  • write down what you’ve heard and post it to FREEPOST NHS BRADFORD DISTRICT AND CRAVEN. No address or stamp is needed. Please mark it for the attention of the engagement team on the reverse of the envelope.
  • if you have a report which contains people’s experiences you can share it with the CCGs’ engagement team directly by emailing

Top tips for writing about an experience

Different organisations will record people’s experiences in their own ways.

There is no set way or format in which the CCG needs to receive information. You might feed in an individual story or a theme that you have picked up from conversations you have had.

Here are some top tips which you may find useful to follow:

  • include the name of the service that the person was using
  • try to describe the impact the experience has had on them
  • say when this experience happened
  • there is no need to obtain consent, as all experiences are anonymous.
  • don’t include any details that make the individual or anyone involved in their care identifiable.
  • and lastly, you do not need to write a lot – a couple of lines may do.

As the Grassroots system is used to look at the whole picture, experiences which you give to us will not be followed up individually nor receive a personal response.

At times you might want to talk to a provider directly about an experience, or explain to an individual how they can raise a concern, make a complaint or compliment a service directly.

Our ambition

Grassroots is already an important tool to help us make sure that decisions about health, care and support services are based on people’s lived experiences.

With your help Grassroots can become even more powerful. Each part of the health, care and support system in Bradford district and Craven, whether a small community group or big organisation, holds valuable information that can make a difference to people’s experiences of services in the future.

The next steps for Grassroots

As health, care and support organisations, local authorities and the voluntary and community sector work more closely in partnerships, insight can be shared across organisations.

The CCG is working with local NHS trusts to explore how the patient experience data they collect can also feed into Grassroots reporting. Grassroots summary reports will be shared openly, so that people who feed in experiences can understand how their insight is being used. Twice a year the CCG will publish information on their website about what they have heard through Grassroots and what they will do in response.

The CCG will let people know where Grassroots insight has led to changes in services, and be honest when people’s experiences highlight challenges in the system.

Further information

Thank you for supporting Grassroots.

Both the Engaging People and CCG engagement team are happy to answer any questions you have.

Engaging People is a voluntary and community sector partnership project commissioned by the CCG to carry out public and patient engagement work on our behalf. HALE and CNet are Engaging People partners.

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