Worcester News Article – 5th March

One of my jobs as Chairman is to represent Healthwatch in meetings with the leaders of Worcestershire’s health and social care services. In the weeks since my last column in this paper I have attended 2 important meetings with those leaders; the Health and Wellbeing Board, which brings together those leaders to plan for our future health and wellbeing, and the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership in which the leaders of health and care services from across Worcestershire and Herefordshire are planning future services across the 2 counties.

Items on the agenda of the Health and Wellbeing Board included recommendations that will see over 100 local pharmacies and the dispensing GP surgeries in the county offer more services around prevention and early intervention, so we can better manage our own health, well being and minor ailments. With 50% of us making a visit to our local pharmacy this increased service could make a real difference, relieving pressure on GPs and it is something the public have said they support.

The Sustainability and Transformation Partnership has the challenge of improving our health and well being whilst at the same time working with the resources that are available, be that the numbers of healthcare professionals, hospital space or funding. Undoubtedly this is going to involve significant changes to the way that services are delivered to us. I believe if these changes are to work then patients and the public really do need to be involved to have a say in how services will work for them and a lot more could be done. This view is reflected our submission to the Health Select Committee inquiry which can be found on the Healthwatch website.

The next public Board meeting of Healthwatch is at 10am on the morning of Friday 9 March at Perdisewell Young People’s Leisure Centre, Worcester and all are welcome to come along. If you want to know more about Healthwatch Worcestershire, or have an experience of health or social care to share with us in confidence, please visit our website, contact us on 01386 550 264 or email us at info@healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk.