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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
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

More than half of people with chronic and long-term conditions not asked to feed back about their care

More than half of people with chronic and long-term conditions are not asked to feed back about their care.

Healthwatch’s latest findings show that people with chronic and long-term health conditions often miss out on giving their feedback about care. As part of the Because We All Care campaign, Healthwatch are working with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to change this.

Read the full article here

Protect your child from flu this winter

Coughs and colds in children are common at this time of year and are usually relatively mild, but parents are being urged to get their children vaccinated against flu, which can be much more serious.

All primary school children, and some secondary school children are eligible for the flu nasal spray this year, which is usually given at school by school nurses. Parents will receive a link to the online form from their child’s school. When invited by their school, parents must complete the online consent form for their child to get the flu nasal spray.

GP surgeries are also inviting children aged 2 and 3 years old and children with long term health conditions, for the nasal spray vaccination at their practices.

Click here for more information

Stress less with TALKWORKS free NHS wellbeing workshops

Stress less with TALKWORKS is a two-hour workshop introducing you to a range of techniques to help you manage stress.

The workshop covers managing when worry is taking over your life; creating manageable routines and tips to help you get a better night’s sleep. The session is all about teaching you some basic Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques and is led by two wellbeing practitioners who will talk you through the theory behind CBT and how to make manageable change.

These sessions are aimed at anyone over 18 who may be struggling with stress, worry, managing routines and sleep or for those who want to learn about basic CBT techniques.

Dates and times for the sessions are:

Friday 28 October12pm
Monday 7 November
Wednesday 7 December
Tuesday 17 January
Tuesday 14 march
Tuesday 4
April – 5:30pm

Click here to find out more

Save a life, give blood

The NHS are asking the public to come forward and to donate blood as stocks of blood are critically low.

Throughout Devon there are spaces in different centre where you can go and donate blood.

Find out more and book your appointment here

Smokers are being encouraged to join Stoptober

Since it first launched 11 years ago, Stoptober has helped over 2.5 million people make a quit attempt. This year, the campaign is helping the nearly 6 million smokers in England build their confidence and give quitting a go.

Stoptober is the Department of Health and Social Care’s annual “stop smoking” campaign, coming under the umbrella brand Better Health. It is based on research that if smokers make it to 28 days smoke free, they are five times more likely to quit for good.

‘You’ve got what it takes to quit this Stoptober’ is the focus for this year’s campaign. As well as emphasising the benefits of quitting, the campaign will motivate smokers by instilling the belief that they can quit and that by joining Stoptober, they’ll have the support of the thousands of others who are making a quit attempt during October

Find out more here

Short Breaks Coffee Mornings

The Short Breaks Project is working to improve the short breaks offer for disabled children and their families. Devon County Council are working closely alongside Parent Carer Forum Devon to host a series of coffee mornings for parents and carers so that you can talk directly to them.

Listening to feedback from families is fundamental to achieving successful outcomes for all. They would like to build on the work that families have been involved in so far by holding regular face-to-face sessions around Devon with Short Breaks Project team members.

Upcoming dates and locations for the coffee mornings are:

Tuesday 18 October - Online
Tuesday 8 November - Okehampton

Monday 14 November - Exeter
Tuesday 22 November - Newton Abbot

As spaces in the venues is limited, they are asking you to book a place if you would like to attend.

For more information click here

Have financial issues impacted your mental health?

Our Healthwatch Assist member, Punk Against Poverty CIC, are using the Healthwatch Assist Grant to conduct a survey on how poverty and/or money is affecting the mental health of Devon residents.

The survey is open for any Devon resident, and the results will be used to influence the services provided by Punk Against Poverty and similar provisions in Devon.

Punk Against Poverty supports local communities to take DIY approaches to life’s difficulties. They work to provide immediate help to people in our community struggling with poverty. They aim to tackle poverty and community issues through innovative grassroots schemes that involve and engage the community, and remind people of their worth in times when it can be easy to forget.

Visit their website here

Click here to complete the survey

Have you been affected by self harm?

Youth Mental Health Foundation have been asked by Public Health Devon to lead a Task and Finish group that represents parents/guardians, carers and siblings of people who self-harm or who have self-harmed across Devon.

They have used their Healthwatch engagement grant to develop a questionnaire to gather information from groups affected by self-harm across Devon to contribute towards this.

In order to produce the most accurate Health Needs Assessment for self-harm across Devon, they need as many voices as possible involved.

The survey is open to any parents/families/carers of people of self-harm, and also to professionals working in this area.

The survey takes 5 -10 minutes to complete and is open to all residents of Devon. It will be running until Saturday 15 October 2022.

Complete the questionnaire here

Autumn Flu and COVID-19 Booster

Everyone who is eligible for a free flu vaccine is being urged to take up the offer as soon as they are invited to do so. At the moment, the flu vaccine is being given free on the NHS to adults who:

  • are 65 years old and over

  • have certain health conditions, such as asthma and diabetes

  • 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

  • are frontline health or social care workers

If you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine, you can book an appointment at your GP surgery or a pharmacy that offers it on the NHS.

Click here for more information on the flu vaccine and Covid-19 booster

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.