Worcester News Article – 8th October

Healthwatch’s activities over the last 2 weeks have brought home to me how varied Healthwatch’s work is; from attending formal meetings with leaders of the county’s health and social care system, learning about the public’s experiences of services at community events, and raising local issues of national importance at Healthwatch England’s Annual Conference.

We attended Worcestershire’s Health and Wellbeing Board, which as a statutory body brings together leaders from the NHS and the County Council Social Services to agree plans to promote, the health and wellbeing of the county’s population. The Board received the Director of Public Health’s Annual Report on prevention services. Recognising that ‘prevention is better than cure’ the report identifies missed opportunities to improve people’s health by increasing, for example, the uptake of cancer screening services. Healthwatch supported the recommendations in the report which is available on the County Councils website, and in the months ahead will be speaking to the public about how public health messages are communicated in a meaningful way and obtaining peoples experiences of prevention services such as the accessibility of cancer screening services.

At Healthwatch England’s Annual Conference the new Chair Sir Robert Francis emphasised the importance of local Healthwatch challenging the performance of the health and care system, which is something we will continue to do. Later in the conference a Deputy Chief Nursing Officer of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust presented the contribution Healthwatch Worcestershire had made to improving the care of patients in the corridor in the Worcester A&E Department. Whilst no one wants to see patients cared for in the corridor it was reassuring to hear that the experiences we had gathered from patients and carers has been used to improve services.

We participated in a co-design event for Worcestershire’s Overnight Short Break Service, which provides respite care for children with disabilities. The event gave an opportunity for parents, carers and voluntary groups to discuss and put forward ideas to the County Council of how this service can be provided in the future.
Last Saturday we were at the National Autistic Society Family Day at the Countryside Centre in Worcester. As well as chatting to families about accessing services, we were discussing going to the Dentist and the children took part in our children’s dental survey. We also attended an Older People’s Day in Kidderminster.

Our next Public Board Meeting will be held on Friday 12th October at The Civic Centre in Pershore. Further details can be found on our website.
If you would like further information on our work or have an experience of health or social care to share with us in confidence, please contact us on 01386 550 264 or info@healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk
For details of our upcoming meetings and events we will be attending, as well as further information about our work and reports, please visit our website –
www.healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk