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Healthwatch Devon is the independent champion for health and social care covering the largest local authority area in the South West of England with a population of 814,440 in 2021.

We take 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

An open letter to NHS England to improve the Accessible Information Standard

Our national partner Healthwatch England (HWE) have published an open letter to NHS England to express disappointment at the lack of progress in reviewing the legally-binding Accessible Information Standard (AIS).

It’s been nearly a year since HWE launched the Your Care, Your Way campaign to highlight that everyone should receive healthcare in a format they need, be it British Sign Language, easy read or electronic.

Here are a few highlights of the campaign so far:

  • HWE formed a coalition of UK’s leading charities and organisations that work with people with additional communication needs.

  • HWE shared experiences from more than 7,000 people who struggled to access healthcare because they didn’t get health and social care information they can understand and communications support if they need it.

  • HWE’s Freedom of Information request to NHS trusts concluded that many health services fail to comply with the AIS, which the Government established to protect people’s rights to accessible healthcare.

  • HWE called on NHS England to improve the AIS to make sure everyone, especially people who have sensory impairments and learning disabilities, gets healthcare information in the way they need it.

Read the outcomes and next steps here

You Said, We Did

55% of respondents  said "Yes" they thought their health and safety was at risk due to caring duties.

“We are left to cope with every arising situation with little or no practical support unless we fight for it.”

Healthwatch in Devon, Plymouth, and Torbay would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey and give their feedback. Healthwatch would also like to thank Devon Carers, Improving Lives Plymouth, and the Torbay Carers Service for helping to design and distribute the survey.

Healthwatch has share the findings of this report directly with those responsible for commissioning Carers services for them to consider and respond to.

Read the full report here

Lift someone out of loneliness

Loneliness is an issue that can affect us all, young or old, at any point in our lives. We might live in a busy city or a rural location, on our own or with others and still feel isolated.

We all experience feeling lonely in different ways. This means there are a range of ways we can try to overcome loneliness, and we need to identify the help and support that works for us. It's really important to remember that loneliness and difficult feelings can pass.

Know someone who might be feeling lonely?

There are some simple things you can do that could give them a lift. Like inviting them for a walk, catching up over coffee or sending a text. And as over half of us have felt lonely at some point, it may help you feel less lonely too.

In the past, Healthwatch Devon conducted an independent inquiry to help public understanding of the causes of loneliness and through joint working find out how public services and community organisations can help those feeling lonely. Read the report here.

Click here for advice on how to tackle loneliness

Children's Mental Health Week 2023

Place2Be's Children's Mental Health Week 2023 will take place from 6-12 February 2023. This year's theme is Let's Connect.

Let’s Connect is about making meaningful connections for all, during Children’s Mental Health Week – and beyond. People thrive in communities, and this connection is vital for our wellbeing.

When we have healthy connections – to family, friends and others – this can support our mental health and our sense of wellbeing. And when our need for rewarding social connections is not met, we can sometimes feel isolated and lonely – which can have a negative impact on our mental health.

For Children’s Mental Health Week 2023, Place2Be are encouraging people to connect with others in healthy, rewarding and meaningful ways.

Find out more about Children's Mental Health Week here

Warm spaces in Devon

North Devon County Council's dedicated 'warm spaces' webpage is live.

This webpage includes a list of places throughout the district that people can go to, to keep warm during colder times.

Working with voluntary and community groups across North Devon, the 'warm spaces' currently include libraries, church halls and community centres. As more venues join the initiative, they will be added to the webpage.

Click here to view the full list of warm spaces

Dimensions For Autism - February 2023

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

For more information or if you have any questions contact:

Find out more about Dimensions for Autism here

New campaign launched by NHS Devon - Treatment starts at home

A new campaign launched by NHS Devon explains how people can treat themselves for minor illnesses and injuries from the comfort of their own home.

Find out more here

Join our Healthwatch Assist Network!

Calling all community groups, are you on the map?

The map shows the locations of all of our Healthwatch Assist Network members.

Our Assist Network allows us to build links with communities so we can gather information about the health and care services they use. We simply want to know what is and is not working. This information is fed back into the community and shared with key healthcare decision makers who can learn from good practice and make improvements to local services.

Can't see your community group on the map? Join the Network today and become an Assist member to join the map with so many others!

Click here for more information

Top up your immunity this winter

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 50 and over

  • 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

If you're eligible for the free flu vaccine, it's likely you can get the COVID-19 seasonal booster.

Book your flu vaccine and Covid-19 booster today:

Learn more about the flu vaccination here

Cost of living crisis 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

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Posted in SHDC.