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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

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

600th international nurse arrives in Devon

Six hundred nurses have been attracted to work in Devon from overseas in the last 15 months – helping to fill vital frontline posts and saving the NHS around £3 million in agency and bank costs.

The Devon International Recruitment Alliance works collaboratively across the county’s NHS hospital trusts to attract staff; rather than trusts competing with one another abroad. They have developed a recognised and trusted presence online and on social media, which attracts many direct applicants from other countries.

The programme has been so successful that the team are now branching into other areas where recruiting health and care professionals has been particularly challenging, including radiographers, podiatrists, occupational therapists and care workers for social care.

Read the full story 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

SWAST Service Improvement Questionnaire

The local Ambulance Service wants to improve the service for people with a Learning Disability and Autistic people. Inclusion Gloucestershire have been asked to gather the views of people with lived experience and their carers.

They have developed questionnaires to capture the feedback:

Plain English Questionnaire
Family Carers Questionnaire

Easy read questionnaires can be requested from Inclusion Gloucestershire.

Please complete and share these questionnaires to help make a real difference to the service people receive!

Complete the questionnaire here

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

CQC tells Forge House Services Limited, Devon, improvements must be made

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated Forge House Services Limited in Cullompton, Devon, inadequate overall, following an inspection in August and September.

Forge House Services Limited is a residential care home providing accommodation and personal care for up to 11 people who may be living with a learning disability or who is autistic.

Following the inspection, the overall rating for the service has dropped from good to inadequate. The service is now in special measures which means it will be kept under review, by CQC and re-inspected to check sufficient improvements have been made.

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

GP online consultations

General practitioners (GPs) treat all common medical conditions and refer patients to hospitals and other medical services for urgent and specialist treatment.

As well as face-to-face and telephone appointments, the majority of GP practices also offer online services 24-7. To book appointments and request sick notes download the NHS App on your smartphone.

Online consultation forms have multiple choice questions making it a convenient way of providing your GP with the information they need. You can fill out an online consultation form from wherever you are in order to digitally contact your GP.

Visit your GP’s website to access their online services.

Click here to find out more

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

Your feedback matters

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Posted in SHDC.