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Healthwatch Devon logoHealthwatch Devon is the independent champion for health and social care services across Devon. We are part of a national network of Local Healthwatch that was set up under the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

It's our job to listen to your experiences of using health and care services - both good and bad, and share these with those who have the power to make change happen.

What you are telling us...

Share your experience here

Local Health Champion Shortlisted for National Award

The team at our partners Healthwatch Torbay have been shortlisted for a national award for their work helping to improve care for local people.

The National Healthwatch Impact Award recognises outstanding examples of where the views of local people have been used to make positive changes to local NHS and social care services.

Commenting on the news that they have made the shortlist, Dr Kevin Dixon, Chair for Healthwatch in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay said:

"Our staff and volunteers work so hard to find out if health and care services are working for local people and, if they are not, to try and get services to fix the issues.

So, finding out that our work has been shortlisted for a national award is a real pat on the back. However, we can’t do anything without local people coming forward to share your views, so this is not just great news for us but also for everyone in Torbay.

“I’d especially like to thank the service users themselves for raising their concerns with us throughout this piece of work, the importance of local people speaking out cannot be understated.”

Find out more about why Healthwatch Torbay were shortlisted here

NHS dentist shortages to be tackled with cash incentive

Dentists who set up practice in areas of England with poor access to NHS care will be offered a £20,000 bonus.

The government has also announced higher payments for dentists who take on new patients and teeth-cleaning in schools as part of a plan to expand levels of dental care.

The £20,000 “golden hello” payment will be available to up to 240 dentists, about 1% of the workforce, with the aim of getting more people to work for three years in the so-called dental deserts where there is the poorest access to NHS care.

The government is aiming for 1.5 million more treatments to be given over the next 12 months because of the plans.

Click here to find out more

Pharmacists can now prescribe drugs for minor illnesses

Treatments for seven conditions such as sore throats and earaches are now available directly from pharmacists, without the need to visit a doctor.

The Pharmacy First scheme will allow most chemists in England to issue prescriptions to patients without appointments or referrals.
The conditions are:

  • Sore throat

  • Earache

  • Sinusitis

  • Impetigo

  • Shingles

  • Infected insect bites

  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women

Patients needing more specialist or follow-up care will be referred onward.

For more information click here

Patient Experiences of Pharmacy Services

Healthwatch in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay have released a report on Patient Experiences of Pharmacy Services, detailing a total of 141 experiences about Pharmacy Services across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay during the 18-month period.

Issues raised include medication delays and supply problems that affect the prescription/repeat prescription service, patients not knowing when their medications are ready for collection, and phone calls going unanswered. We have shared the report and its findings with NHS stakeholders in Devon and made key recommendations for them within the report.

Read the report on our website

High Bickington Branch Surgery Engagement Survey

Torrington Health Centre is doing some engagement with patients who live in the village of High Bickington in North Devon about the potential impacts of closing their branch site at High Bickington.

The Centre wants to understand the impact recent service changes have had on people in High Bickington and the surrounding areas. They also want to hear from patients about the potential implications and impact if they were to permanently close the branch surgery. To understand this, they are conducting an engagement exercise to gather people’s views.

The online questionnaire has been launched to provide you with an opportunity to share any thoughts or feedback you might have as a potential user of the branch surgery.

Complete the questionnaire here

It's Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2024

Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week is the UK’s national week to raise awareness of sexual abuse and violence and to provide an opportunity for any organisation or individual to engage in dialogue.

For countless years many organisations working in the sector of sexual abuse & violence were investing time, resources and funding into developing brilliant campaigns that – we felt – were not getting far and wide enough to reach enough of the public. The campaigns we have seen have been so powerful and informative and they needed to be elevated.

There are many voices that often go unheard or with little recognition. This week is an opportunity for anyone that wants to use their voice to join a conversation with thousands of others. Together we can amplify the voices that should be heard, we can spotlight support services and we can engage those outside of our sector, in the discussion.

Find out more about Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week here

Devon Digital Webinars & Bite Sized Info Sessions

Parent Carers - A message from Action For Children;

Devon Digital and Devon Childrens Centres offer a variety of online activities for you to enjoy.

Whether you want to learn about PLAY, connect with other Dads and male carers, or celebrate the everyday tiny moments, they have something for you. Don’t miss this opportunity to have fun and learn new skills with your family.

Click here to see the upcoming sessions and book your place

Dimensions For Autism February timetable

Dimensions for Autism are a friendly group of independent autistic adults who meet regularly for discussions, mutual support and community outings in Devon.

If you have any questions, contact:

Visit Dimensions For Autism's website for more information

Seasonal vaccinations and winter health

Flu vaccination is important because, while flu is unpleasant for most people, it can be dangerous and even life threatening for some people, particularly those with certain health conditions.

The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to adults who:

  • are 65 and over (including those who will be 65 by 31 March 2024)

  • have certain health conditions

  • are pregnant

  • are in long-stay residential care

  • receive a carer's allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick

  • live with someone who is more likely to get a severe infection due to a weakened immune system, such as someone living with HIV, someone who has had a transplant, or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis

Find out more about the vaccine here

Cost of living statement by SignHealth

SignHealth are a passionate and caring Deaf-led team working towards a future where there are no barriers to good health and wellbeing for Deaf people, they partner with the NHS and service providers across the country.

Get regular updates from SignHealth here

Your feedback matters

Share your experience of a local service by clicking here
If you would like to share your story of using local health and social care services in a more general way please click here to fill out our ‘Have Your Say’ form.

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Click here to read our latest Healthwatch Annual Report

Posted in DCC.