Public meetings

Public meetings and listening events

A listening event in action

Public meetings, often called listening events, are open to everyone. They are usually about plans to make changes and improvements to NHS services. Sometimes this will be one specific service – for example our recent public consultation on stroke. Or they can be on several areas of care – for example the recent meetings on how hospitals services in east Kent might be organised in the future.

What to expect at a public meeting or listening event

Depending on how advanced the plans are, public meetings can be an opportunity for us to get early feedback that will help to inform more detailed proposals, or they might be part of a formal public consultation. We will always make the purpose of the meeting clear when we advertise it.

We try to choose community venues that are easy to access and can accommodate plenty of people. However, we do ask people to register in advance so we know how many to expect and can ensure the room is set up appropriately and we have enough staff on hand to make sure things run smoothly.

Typically, a public meeting will begin with a presentation from NHS staff, setting out the topic under discussion. There will be the opportunity to ask questions of the presenters.

We will then usually ask the people attending the meeting to discuss
in smaller groups what they have heard in the presentation, often with the help of a facilitator.

The main reason we do this is because it allows us to gather views from many more of the attendees . We also know that there are many people who do not like speaking in public, and would rather share their views with a smaller group of people.

The feedback we get at public meetings and listening events is invaluable. It helps us to better understand the opinions and concerns of local communities and consider how this impacts on future plans.

We hope you will be able to join us at a meeting in the future.