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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

A&E delays are intolerable – Healthwatch response to new NHS performance stats

The waiting list for routine NHS care has fallen for the first time since the pandemic began.

However, 7.19 million people are still waiting for hospital treatment, such as hip and knee replacements. This includes an estimated 1,423 people in England who have been waiting more than two years to start routine hospital treatment at the end of November.

Meanwhile, the number of patients waiting more than 12 hours in A&E for treatment has exceeded 50,000 a week for the first time.

Read Healthwatch's full response here

Responding to extreme pressures in primary care

NHS services in Devon remain under pressure with higher demand than is normally experienced at this time of year.

In Devon emergency department attendances this month are 16% higher than last year and calls to NHS111 are up 46%. Devon’s health system was placed in critical incident twice during the Christmas and New Year period as a result of sustained severe pressure.

Key messages for the public

In response to the heightened pressures NHS Devon has issued the following guidance to patients:

  • Please only visit the Emergency Department if you have a life-threatening emergency.

  • GP practices across Devon are open and are here to help, but they are struggling to meet the current demand. You can contact your GP via telephone, through their website, or via the NHS App.

  • NHS 111 online and the NHS website have advice on how to care for yourself at home and when to seek further medical help.

  • Information on common childhood illnesses is available through the Handi App.

  • Community pharmacists can offer support on managing minor conditions.

  • Having the Covid-19 and flu vaccinations can reduce the likelihood of becoming ill and infecting others and reduce the severity of the symptoms.

  • If you have a loved one in hospital, please be ready to help them home as soon as they are well enough.

Click here to find out more

Cost of living: People are increasingly avoiding NHS appointments and prescriptions

The impact the cost of living crisis is having on many people’s ability to heat their homes and eat well has been widely reported.

Healthwatch England (HWE) conducted a tracker poll with 2000 adults in England between October and December to assess the impact of the cost of living on their health and wellbeing and whether it has affected how they use health and social care services.

They found that more people avoided getting prescription medicines, and booking NHS appointments, including dental treatment, due to the fear of extra costs in December than in October.

Read the full article here

If you can’t make your healthcare appointment – ‘pass it on’

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust have launched a campaign asking for local people's help to make sure people are getting the care they need as quickly as possible.

Ian Currie, Medical Director, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We have a lot of people waiting for appointments and we want to see people as quickly as we can so that we can make sure people get the care they need.

“Our teams are working really hard to offer as many appointments as we can and we want everyone who is waiting to be able to get the care that they need.

“We do understand, however, that sometimes it may not be possible to attend an appointment. When this happens, we want to encourage people to let us know, so that someone else can take their place. Please try to give us as much notice as you can, if you can’t attend."

Click here to find out more
Men's health survey promotional graphic

Seeking feedback from men about their health

Healthwatch Devon are supporting Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust (TSDFT) to gather feedback from men about what matters to them about their health.

The information you share will be anonymised and shared within a report to TSDFT, which will help to inform them about the changes required to services they provide.

TSDFT provide joined up care across the community, delivering services from Torbay Hospital and community-based health and social care.

TSDFT are keen to find out what matters to men and help them improve their understanding of their health. They would be grateful if you could take the time to complete a short survey and share your views.

Share your views here

Strep A

Strep A is a common type of bacteria. Most strep A infections are mild and easily treated, but some are more serious.

Common symptoms of strep A include:

- flu-like symptoms
- sore throat (strep throat or tonsillitis)
- a rash that feels rough, like sandpaper (scarlet fever)
- scabs and sores (impetigo)
- pain and swelling (cellulitis)
- nausea and vomiting

Parents should trust their judgement when their child is poorly. Speak to your GP or call 111 if your child is poorly and getting worse. A pharmacist can also give advice about how to ease your child's symptoms and whether you need to see a doctor.

For more information click here

Centre for Women's Health car park will be closed late afternoon Friday to early afternoon Saturday

The patient and visitor car park for the Centre for Women's Health (Car Park C) will be closed from the late afternoon on Friday 13 January through to the early afternoon on Saturday 14 January. This is so survey work can take place.

Any vehicles already parked in the car park when it closes will be released on leaving. As the survey completes during Saturday, there will be a staged release of car park spaces. The closure will be managed by a security company.

During the closure, signage will be in place to direct people where to go, and access to the disabled spaces and the drop-off point will be maintained, including full access for emergency services.

Find out more here
Healthwatch mental health survey campaign promotional graphic

Are you suffering from low mood, anxiety, panic, fears or depression?

57% of respondents, so far, rated their experience of mental health and wellbeing services in #Devon as POOR.

Have you, or someone you know, been suffering from low mood, anxiety, panic, fears or depression? Are you getting the support you need? Has your experience of using NHS mental health and wellbeing services been good, or could it have been better?

It’s quick and easy to share your experience with us by completing this anonymous online survey

YOUR voice will make a difference.

Healthwatch listens to your experiences and share these with organisations like NHS England because we all want to improve services and make a difference to people’s lives.

Have your say and complete the survey here

National survey shows decline in positive maternity experiences

Findings from a survey of more than 20,900 women who gave birth in February 2022 show fewer reporting positively about their experience of maternity care, with a notable decline in the number able to get help from staff when they needed it, compared to five years ago.

Published on Wednesday 11 January 2023 the findings of CQC’s latest national maternity survey capture what people using maternity services in 2022 felt about the care they received while pregnant, during labour and delivery, and once at home in the weeks following the arrival of their baby.

Read the findings here

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 Parish Council.