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Lived Experience

As an Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) our aim is to engage, involve and co-produce our Integrated Care Strategy with as wide a range of voices and people with lived experience as possible.

A Wide Range of Voices

The range of voices that we seek to engage in the work of the ICP includes:

  • people with lived experiences of accessing health and or social care services
  • people with lived experiences of having a mental or physical health condition or living with disabilities
  • seldom heard voices including people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness, those who face digital exclusion
  • people at risk of inequalities including ethnic minority groups, people living with inequalities, people with experience of the care system
  • those with an interest but who reside outside of the area of the ICS, such as people providing unpaid care at a distance; or those receiving specialist services outside the ICS area.
  • children, young people and their families (including new and expectant parents)
  • people who might face additional challenges such as severe mental illness, learning disabilities, additction
  • people, and organisations who both formally and informally advocate on behalf of people who cannot otherwise easily engage
  • frontline staff working across the breadth of health and care organisations including social care providers, VCFSE sector and allied health professionals.

The Key Role of Healthwatch

Healthwatch Suffolk and Healthwatch Essex have a key role in supporting the work of the ICP which is underpinned by the new Health and Care Act 2022. This role draws on the excellent networks that both organisations have across their counties and their combined considerable expertise in:

  • collating and sharing existing insight about people’s experience of health and care services
  • undertaking additional research and engagement in support of development or delivery of the strategy to gather the views and experiences of local people, including those from marginalised groups who are seldom heard
  • providing advice and expertise to support the integrated care partnership to undertake and commission community engagement to a high standard
  • supporting and collaborating with people with lived experience of inequality to carry out monitoring processes.

Wider Existing Mechanisms for Co-Production and Citizen Engagement

As an ICP we also seek to draw on existing co-production and citizen engagement mechanisms for example from;

  • Local Government – County Councils, District and Borough Councils, Elected Members
  • NHS – NHS Integrated Care Board (ICB) and local NHS Trusts including ESNEFT, WSFT, NSFT, EPUT and EEAST
  • Wider Providers – including small social care providers, GPs, dentists, optometrists, pharmacists
  • VCFSE Sector – voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCFSE) sector organisations.

There are networks for those leading resident, patient and citizen engagement mechanisms at ICS and Alliance level.

Lived Experience


Emma's Story

Healthwatch Essex Mental Health Co-Production

Specific ICP Engagement Mechanisms

In addition to drawing on these engagement mechanisms from across the ICS, we also offer some direct opportunities for people with lived experience to engage directly with the work of the ICP and development of the Integrated Care Strategy. These include:

Relevant plans and strategies


NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board
Joint Forward Plan


Ipswich and East Suffolk
Alliance Delivery Plan

North East Essex 
Alliance Delivery Plan

West  Suffolk
Alliance Delivery Plan

Last Updated on 25 January 2024

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