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Your spotlight on local services


Annual General Meeting - 24th October 2018

Thank you to all who attended our AGM on Wednesday 24th October 2018. A special thank you to our guest speakers Graham Burgess, Kevin McGee and Abbie Kearney.

To view Healthwatch Blckburn wih Darwens presentation, please click here.

To view the presentation by Graham Burgess, please click here.

Volunteer Recruitment Session - 27th November 2018

Interested in Health and Social Care? Want to help improve Health and Social Care services in Blackburn with Darwen? Have you ever thought about volunteering?

If the answer is yes, find about more about volunteering at Blackburn with Darwen at our next Volunteer Recruitment Session on Tuesday 27th November at 6pm. 

The Session will be held in the Conference Room, Boulevard Centre, 45 Railway Road, Blackburn, BB1 1EZ.


East Lancashire Hospitals expand mobile appointment technology

Starting Monday 22 October, all new pre-op assessment, elective admission, therapy and MSK (musculoskeletal) appointments at East Lancashire Hospitals Trust will be sent direct to the patient’s mobile phone, replacing the traditional printed appointment letter for patients who have registered their mobile phone number with the hospital. Existing appointments will not be affected. “The new system greatly improves the patient’s experience, patients can confirm, cancel or arrange to rebook their appointment with one click,” says John Bannister, ELHT Director of Operations.

“Once confirmed, the appointment can be added directly into the patient’s digital calendar, saved on the patient’s phone or forwarded it to their email for printing.”

Patients receive a text to their mobile phone with a secure link and 4-digit PIN. To access the letter patients simply click the link to their secure access page, enter the PIN and date of birth and their appointment letter appears. As well as the appointment date and time, the letter also includes pre-assessment instructions, essential reading and important hospital information.

The system is safe and secure and can only be accessed with the PIN and the patients’ date of birth. As an extra security measure, if the link isn’t accessed within 24 hours the electronic letter will be deleted and a paper letter automatically sent to the patient.

If patients don’t have a mobile phone, or their number isn’t registered with the hospital, a paper appointment letter will be issued in the post. For paediatric patients, the child’s parent or guardian will receive the letter on their behalf.

Sue Elliston, ELHT Outpatients Project Manager, said: “We are really excited to extend this new technology which has been welcomed by patients and staff.”

“In the past few months, digital letters for outpatient appointments have made the process easier for our patients by giving them all the information they need at their fingertips.”

“The technology is interactive enabling instant control to accept, cancel or rearrange appointments, as well as the ability to translate the letters in to multiple languages.”

“Overall it is a better, much smoother system which will enhance the patient experience.”

To assist patients who receive a digital appointment letter, a special film has been created to explain in simple terms how the new system works.

Patients who prefer a postal appointment letter should tell hospital admin staff who will update the communication preference on the patient’s hospital record.

Patients can find out more about the new electronic appointment letters by visiting https://www.elht.nhs.uk/patients/mobile-phone-appointment-letters

2018 AGM


Join us at our 2018 AGM to find out about our achievements in the year to March 2018. The event will have insightful updates from key note speakers as well as news from the team. The AGM will take place in rooms 1 and 2 at Blackburn Central Library at 3.30pm on 24th October. Book your place now at 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/healthwatch-blackburn-with-darwen-annual-general-meeting-tickets-50352762468. We'd love to see you there! 

NHS collaborate with children and young people to improve their mental health services

A report entitled “Thrive: Healthy young minds” has been published, about the views of children and young people and their families, concerning child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in Lancashire and South Cumbria.  An innovative collaboration called “The Healthwatch Collaborative”, teamed up with the Children and Young People’s Transformation Board to learn how the NHS can improve child and adolescent mental health services.

During May and June 2018, local Healthwatch teams organised seven events across Lancashire and South Cumbria and invited children, young people, family members, carers and health professionals to hear their views about CAMHS services. Each event focused on an aspect of child and adolescent mental health care and was designed to be highly participative. The workshops focused on crisis support, access to services, transition to adult services, the role that digital technology can play to support young people, addressing the stigma of using mental health services, care of the most vulnerable, and ensuring that services are run as an integrated ‘one stop shop’. 

One young person, whose comments were included in the report said: “It’s a good way to involve young people - it’s good to include young people’s experiences”.

Sue Stevenson, Chief Operating Officer for Healthwatch Cumbria, on behalf of the Healthwatch Collaborative, said:

“When the NHS considers making improvements to its services, it is essential that the users of those services are involved. We know from past experience and research that improvements are best recommended by those who use the services because they have knowledge, experience and insight of those services, to make meaningful recommendations.’’

David Eaton, Service Manager CAMHS Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of the Children and Young People’s Transformation Board leading the redesign of mental health services for children and young people, said:

“All of the Trusts and the CCGs involved in improving CAMHS services are passionate about those services being the best that they can possibly be.  The energy and enthusiasm from the young people, families and carers was incredible and the result is an immensely useful report with feedback that we are now acting upon.  

On behalf of the Children and Young People’s Transformation Board I would like to thank everyone who took part in the events, and in particular thank the Healthwatch Collaborative for helping us with this. We are delighted with the Thrive report and look forward to continued engagement on our ideas and plans."

Planning for the next phase of co-production is underway and you can find out the latest at: https://www.healthyyoungmindslsc.co.uk/home

Read the full report here 


GP Patient Survey 2018 Results are Out

The approval rate for GP surgeries in the East Lancashire CCG area is positive, with 85% of patients rating their overall experience of their practice as either very good or fairly good.  However, just 11% of patients in East Lancashire have made GP appointments online despite data from the 2018 GP Patient Survey showing that people are finding it increasingly difficult to contact their family doctor over the phone.

Healthwatch Blackburn with Darwen is responding to this news by focusing in our 2018/19 workplan on digital appointment and prescription booking to understand residents' experiences and any barriers they may face. 

Find the detailed results about how your GP surgery is performing here



Have your say on NHS policies

Residents of Blackburn with Darwen are being encouraged to have their say on NHS CCG policies. As part of this ongoing process, the policy for the treatment of varicose veins is now available for patient and public engagement and feedback. For more information, please see 



Launch of East Lancashire Hospital's new inpatient guide

We were proud to support the launch of East Lancashire Hospital Trust's new information guide to assist inpatients and their relatives/carers during hospital stays. Click here to access a copy of the guide. 

Want to find out more about Healthwatch?

We're happy to share with you our new Easy Read Guide to what Healthwatch does and how we can help you get the support you need.