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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

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Carers Rights Day 2022

Caring Costs in so many ways. It could be the cost to unpaid carers’ wellbeing and ability to access health services. Sometimes it’s the financial costs associated with looking after someone – or the effects on carers’ employment options.

Taking care of someone may cost carers the quality of their relationships, through not being able to take time out to spend with friends and family or through changes to the relationship with those they care for.

Whether someone has recently become a carer, realised they have been caring for a while without support or has been caring for someone for many years, it’s important they understand their rights and are able to access the support that is available to them as soon as they need it.

The aim of this Carers Rights Day is to empower carers with information and support, so they can feel confident asking for what they need and can challenge things when their rights are not being met.

Learn more about Carers Rights Day here

The impact of providing unpaid care at home

Nearly 85,000 people in Devon provide unpaid care, with one third providing more than 20 hours of unpaid care per week.

To learn more about the experiences of unpaid carers and the impact of providing care at home, Healthwatch developed a survey in conjunction with Devon Carers, Improving Lives Plymouth, and the Torbay Carers Service.

This report highlights the key findings from the survey and the impact of providing unpaid care at home.

You can also pick up a physical copy of the report from us at the Carers Rights Day Information Event at the Crowne Plaza Plymouth!

Read the report on our website here

Farewell to the Sir Robert Francis, former Chair of Healthwatch

Healthwatch England Former Chair, Sir Robert Francis, says his farewells as he prepares to leave the role of being the chair of Healthwatch and offers a few short reflections.

Healthwatch in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay would like to thank Sir Robert Francis for visiting us in Devon earlier in the year to see how local Healthwatch works and for his time as HWE Chair.

Find out more about the visit earlier in the year here

Local campaign highlights General Practice nurses

“Am I ‘just’ a nurse?” asks General Practice Nurse Sarah Dewsnap in a series of new films aimed at showing how much specialist knowledge and autonomy nurses working in GP practices have.

“A General Practice nurse does a number of jobs in a GP surgery,” says Sarah. “Often the GPs will come to us to ask us for our advice.”

The films, launched by NHS Devon, aim to encourage student nurses to consider a career working in a General Practice and to help patients understand how much expertise General Practice nurses (GPNs) have.

Click here to read the full article

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

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

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

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

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

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.