Worcester News Article – 21st February

Last week we attended Worcestershire’s Health and Wellbeing Board meeting. Over the past months the Board has been talking about a new plan for helping all of Worcestershire’s communities to be well and live healthy lives. For the first time the plan is going to tackle the big issues such as housing, jobs and education that people might not necessarily associate immediately with their health but do in fact determine being well, with a focus on mental health, acknowledging the impact the Covid pandemic has had on people’s mental health across all age ranges. The Board is consulting with Worcestershire’s public on the draft plan and we are very pleased that the Board responded to our request and that of the county’s voluntary sector to extend the consultation period form 8 weeks to 12 weeks to give everyone a chance to have their say.  The survey can be completed via Worcestershire County Council’s website or by visiting your local library, where paper copies are also available. So far over 700 people have responded, so please do have your say. Of course, you might say ‘so what’ and one of Healthwatch’s roles will be to ensure that the commitments made in this strategy when it is agreed are delivered on by the Health and Wellbeing Board members, which includes our part in making sure your voice is listened to.

One of the challenges for Healthwatch is to be seen to be speaking up for all those who live in the county, and at times I’d be the first to admit how difficult that can be. I know the temporary relocation of the chemotherapy suite, called the Garden Suite, from the Alexandra Hospital to the Kidderminster Hospital during Covid, for all the right reasons, was of real concern to Redditch people, lest it stayed there. We have used every opportunity to ensure that Redditch people have been listened to by the NHS and therefore we are really pleased to hear that Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust has announced that the Garden Suite will be going home to the Alexandra Hospital.

For more information or to share your experiences of local health and social care services in confidence, please visit our website www.healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk or contact us on 01386 550264 or info@healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk