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March 2019 Newsletter

Read updates of what the team have been up to during March here.  

Share Your Views and help make local NHS services better

Your local NHS needs to hear from you about what it should do to make care better for your community.  

  • How would you help people live healthier lives?

  • What would make health services better?

  • How would you make it easier for people to take control of their own health and wellbeing?

  • What would you do to make support better for people with long-term conditions?

Help your local NHS invest in the right support by sharing your ideas with us by completing the surveys below:-

General Survey about local services

Survey about specific long term health conditions

If you want to find out more - watch this video from Healthwatch England!

Communities of Blackburn Celebration Event

 

Healthwatch BwD will be hosting a Celebration Event on Wednesday 24th April, 10:30am to 2:00pm at Blackburn Youth Zone to mark the end of the Communities of Blackburn project which was commissioned by the Home Office as part of the Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSBT) programme.

As part of the celebration we will be showcasing our short film that has been produced to reflect the views and opinions of our community in Blackburn. This project was designed “to help shape the community by encouraging the acceptance and appreciation of different cultures, behaviours and beliefs, while helping individuals to recognise the value of a diverse community”.

We will also use this opportunity to discuss ways forward and recommendations.

 

To book your place please use Eventbrite link –  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/communities-of-blackburn-tickets-59332419865

 

Booking essential for lunch and refreshment provisions. Please share with your contacts, to anyone who may be interested.

 

Public Meeting - NHS Long Term Plan & Our Achievements

Our latest Public Meeting took place on Monday 25th March 2019 in Hornby Lecture Theatre in Blackburn Central Library with guest speakers talking about the NHS Long Term Plan.  Please click here for the presentation slides from all speakers at the event.

 

January 2019 Newsletter 

Please read all about what we have been up to this month here.

Parents Dental Survey

Blackburn with Darwen has high rates of tooth decay in children and young people. To find out more, we are asking parents about their child's dental habits to identify gaps in services. We want to know what needs improving from the experts! www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Q5TZPTF 

Healthwatch England Annual Report 2017/2018

  • 400,000 people – more than ever before – coming forward to share their views
  • Their stories show hospitals, GPs and care services coping despite huge pressures
  • But headline targets used in isolation hiding plight of those falling between gaps

Read the report here 

In his first annual report to Parliament as Chair of Healthwatch, Sir Robert Francis looks beyond health and social care performance statistics to explore how people are experiencing care day-to-day across England.

Drawing on evidence from 406,567 people, over the last year Healthwatch has looked at what people are saying about GPs and community services, hospitals, social care services and mental health support, as well as issues that are common to all four areas of care. (See below)

Over the course of the year, our network shared 2,053 reports with local services and decision makers about the improvements people would like to see.

The collective findings of these stories and reports show a real mix of views, with people continuing to receive outstanding care, much of which people say is down to the dedication shown by the extraordinary staff who keep things running.

However, it is also becoming clear that others struggle to access the support they need, with services not getting the basics of care right. Examples Healthwatch has worked on over the last year include care home residents not being able to see an NHS dentist and hospitals not providing the right information to help prevent patients having to return unnecessarily.

Issues like these require the NHS and social care system to be looked at as a whole rather than focussing on the headline targets for individual parts of the service.

Yet as it stands, services are not always able to spot the gaps between them and the impact this is having on the people they care for.

With the NHS Long Term Plan imminent, and the Government’s plans for social care due in the New Year, listening effectively to people needs to become “part of the DNA” of health and care in England. From the beginning of the planning process to the provision of services to individual patients, insight from people need to be used to shape decisions and better track performance.

Healthwatch is doing its part. Since 2014 we have created the health and social care sector’s single biggest source of user insight, gathering more than 1.4 million experiences and views. We have also set a clear goal to step this up further, by reaching a million people a year by 2023.

Encouragingly, those working in health and social care are also using our insight more than ever before, drawing on our evidence and calling on our expertise to engage with communities up and down the country.

The Government’s commitment to invest billions more in the NHS provides a rare opportunity to invest for the long-term in a building a culture where staff at all levels work in equal partnership with communities to shape the way services run.

Four common themes

From the hundreds of thousands of stories gathered by Healthwatch in the last year, we have identified four themes which people commonly experience across all services.

  1. Better information to make the right choices
    With the right information, the public is not only empowered to make better decisions about their health and care, but know where to go for help when they need it. However, this information isn’t always available, and when it is, it can be too technical, confusing or difficult to find.
  2. Easier access to support
    Quicker and easier access to health and care services is essential. It can take a long time for people to get the support they need. Many experience delays at every step – from getting an initial appointment, in waiting rooms, and to see a specialist for further treatment. Repeated cancellations also indicate that the NHS doesn’t value people’s time. Technology used correctly offers the potential to alleviate these barriers and provides easier access to services, and to earlier diagnosis.
  3. Improved conversations
    We know people want to be involved in decisions about their treatment and care. Good communication between professionals and the public helps people to be more informed, understand their choices, and manage their expectations. This is particularly important for people with disabilities or people who don’t speak English as a first language.
  4. Well-coordinated services
    Navigating health and social care can be complicated. People want a seamless experience across different services. When services work well together, it not only makes things easier for people but also reduces the risk of serious issues being missed.

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.