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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 787,200 in 2017.

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

Exeter Service of Remembrance

Exeter will come together on Sunday 13 November to remember all those who have served and lost their lives as part of the British and Commonwealth Armed Forces as a result of conflict or terrorism. A Service of Remembrance will take place on Remembrance Sunday at the War Memorial in Northernhay Gardens.

The Lord Mayor's Chaplain will conduct the service which will start at 10:50 am, with the Exeter Salvation Army Band accompanied by the University of Exeter’s Chapel Choir who will perform before the service and during the hymns.

For further details contact the Lord Mayor's office on 01392 265524 or

Click here to find out more

Tell us your story of maternal mental health care

Pregnancy is a major life event for any family. It can be joyful and fulfilling but also challenging.

With one in four women experiencing mental health problems during pregnancy and in the first year following the birth of a child, support from maternity services can significantly impact their mental health and wellbeing.

Healthwatch have launched a national survey to understand better what is working and what needs improving for people who develop mental health difficulties relating to their maternity experience.

Our national survey aims to give you the opportunity to share your views and experiences to help us better understand what is working and what needs improving for new parents. For instance, we want to know whether the support you received for your mental health during pregnancy and birth met your needs. We also want to see if you had your six-week postnatal check-up and what it was like.

Share your story with us here

Find out more about the survey here
Click the play button to watch a BSL interpreted video of our report on YouTube

Accessing services in Devon: Feedback from the Deaf community

In 2022, Healthwatch in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay held a series of meetings with the South West representative of the Royal Association for Deaf people to discuss various concerns that were being raised around access to British Sign Language (BSL) qualified interpreters.

These concerns include:

  • Interpreters to support appointments in hospital and GP surgeries

  • Interpreters to support complaints process

  • Access to information

Read the report on our website

Make a difference become a Public Governor

Torbay South Devon trust are looking for new members to join their council of Governors to help to influence and shape their priorities and be an essential link in providing feedback for them from the local communities they severe.

This is a voluntary role, they welcome a wide representation and no formal qualifications are required, just simply an interest in healthcare and a keenness to represent your community.

They currently have several vacancies for Public Governors. These consist of:

  • 3 vacancies for Public Governors in the Torbay Constituency

  • 2 vacancies for Public Governors in the Teignbridge Constituency.

  • 1 vacancy for a Public Governor in the South Hams and Plymouth Constituency

  • 1 vacancy for a Public Governor in the Rest of the South West Peninsula Constituency

Nominations are open from 10 November and close at 5pm on 8 December 2022

Learn more about the roles here

What people have told us about Urgent and Emergency Care services

This Healthwatch England briefing discusses people’s experiences of urgent and emergency care (UEC) services from December 2020 to August 2022.

It mentions how Healthwatch in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay reported on four Emergency Departments across Devon in September 2021. At all four hospitals they found that people had gone to the emergency department because they could not access another service, such as the GP or NHS 111. In one visit to one of the emergency departments they found that over half (51%) of patients attending were there because they couldn’t see their GP.

The key themes identified included:

  • People feel confident that they will receive high-quality care from urgent and emergency services, but believe they will have to wait a long time to receive it.

  • People’s confidence in services changed throughout the pandemic.

  • Those who were admitted to hospital following a visit to A&E were more likely to say their confidence in the service had increased.

  • Older people have lower level of confidence in urgent and emergency services.

Read the report here

Is your child short-sighted?

Do you have a child who is short-sighted, or are worried they may become short-sighted in the future?

Staff at the University of Bradford want to hear your (and your children’s) views on short-sightedness and the new ways it can be manage it.

They have an online focus group running on Tuesday 29th November 6:30-8:30pm, which will give you information about what short-sightedness is, why it happens, and what methods can be used to stop it getting worse. The discussion group is currently only open to UK residents and includes children up to the age of 18.

If you have any questions, or are interested but cannot attend this date, please email to be considered for future meetings.

If you're interested please click here

Protect yourself and your baby – vaccinations available during pregnancy

Flu and Covid-19 can cause complications during pregnancy that could harm you and your baby.

Vaccines offer the best protection against these dangerous viruses. The NHS has recommends that, if you are pregnant, you get vaccinated against flu to protect you and your baby from serious illness. It is also recommended that you have a Covid-19 booster vaccination, if it is more than three months since your last dose.

You can:

If you have questions about any of the vaccinations available to you during pregnancy, speak to your midwife, general practice team or pharmacist.

For more information on vaccines available during pregnancy click here


Are you a parent, carer or guardian?

NHS Devon has developed the HANDi App to provide easy access to advice and support for the most common childhood healthcare conditions.

Parents can answer a series of questions about the symptoms their child is experiencing and the app then advises on the best course of action, whether that’s to treat at home, to make a GP appointment, or to head to A&E. This app gives parents more confidence in dealing with minor conditions at home.

Find out more about the app here

Calling all community groups!

Are you part of a community or volunteer group in Devon?

Sign up and join our Healthwatch Assist Network today!

Our Assist Network allows us to build links with communities so we can gather information about the health and social care services they use. We want to know what is and is not working.

This information is then fed back into the community and shared with key healthcare decision-makers who can make improvements to local services.

For more information please email us at or call us on 0800 520 0640

Find out more about our Assist Network here

Help your local hospital by choosing the NHS right service when you need it

💊 Self-Care: A large range of common illnesses and injuries can be treated at home simply with over the counter medicines and plenty of rest.

➕ Pharmacy: Pharmacists can advise and treat a range of symptoms. This can avoid unnecessary trips to your GP or A&E department and no appointments are needed.

👩‍⚕️ GP: GP’s and nurses have excellent understanding of general health issues and can deal with a whole range of health problems.

🏥 Minor Injuries: Minor Injury Units provide non-urgent services for a range of conditions. They are usually led by nurses and an appointment is not necessary.

🚑 A&E/999: These re best used in an emergency for serious life-threatening situations.

☎️ NHS 111: This is available 24/7 and can provide advice and guidance for non-life-threatening emergencies.

💻 NHS Website: You can also access health advice and guidance through the NHS website.

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.