Healthwatch Devon is the independent champion for health and social care services across Devon. We are part of a national network of Local Healthwatch that was set up under the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
It's our job to listen to 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.
Debates around the future of health and care are likely to intensify over the coming weeks as political parties gather for what could be the last annual conferences before the next General Election. As they hone these plans, Healthwatch will be urging them to heed patient and public experience, expectations and views.
Around 10 million people have shared their health and social care stories with the Healthwatch network since it was launched in 2013. Healthwatch England will be using it to develop a vision for what health and care services could look like for patients by 2030 with the right interventions by the next government.
Healthwatch England have outlined five key themes, with recommendations for political parties on what manifesto commitments they may wish to consider:
Devon, Plymouth & Torbay Represented at National Conference
Last week our Strategic & Operational Leads Pat Harris & Sarah Lonton joined leaders from Healthwatch across the country at the Healthwatch England Leadership Conference in London to share ideas on the future role of Healthwatch in helping to improve local health & social care services.
Pat took the opportunity to talk on stage (pictured, above) about the importance of local Healthwatch gathering patient feedback at the national Conference, which begun with a speech from newly appointed Healthwatch England Chair Professor David Croisdale-Appleby.
Representatives from across the country discussed Healthwatch's role in improving access to services and the next steps in Primary Care.
In November 2022 Healthwatch in Devon, Plymouth, and Torbay published a report on the impact of providing unpaid care at home in collaboration with Devon Carers, Caring for Carers Plymouth, and Torbay Carers services.
We reviewed the findings and have agreed to follow up this report with further work around the impacts on carers, especially around their wellbeing and feelings of isolation.
We are running a new survey to find out if Carers feel their caring role has led them to feel isolated, and how this has impacted their own wellbeing.
This information will allow us to develop support for carers, develop a risk scale for carers to help medical professionals identify when a carer may be reaching a tipping point, to identify gaps in service provisions and communications and to identify research gaps for future engagement/research.
GPs asked to encourage pregnant women to take up Covid jab offer
GPs and midwives are being urged to make sure pregnant women know they are eligible for booster vaccinations this autumn amidst concerns over the latest Covid variant.
A letter from NHS England reiterated expert advice that the BA.2.86 variant is the most concerning since Omicron first emerged with UK public health officials encouraging all those eligible to be vaccinated as quickly as possible.
Pregnant women remain on the list for those at higher risk of severe Covid infection and are also eligible for vaccination against flu, the letter states and services have an ‘essential role’ in making sure they have been given advice.
Wherever possible vaccinations for Covid-19, flu and pertussis should be offered at the same time to make it easier and more convenient for pregnant women to be protected, the letter added.
That will also ensure ‘as many eligible people as possible are vaccinated by the end of October, in line with the updated guidance’, it said.
Have you recently used any health or social care services?
In the next few weeks we are gathering feedback from the public about local health and social care services at the Teignbridge CVS Cost of Living Roadshow on the following dates:
- Courtenay Centre Newton Abbot -Thurs 5th Oct, 9:30-12:30
- The Pavilions Teignmouth - Mon9th Oct, 10:00-13:00
- Christow Community Hall - Wed18th Oct, 9:30-12:00
Come along and speak to us and share your feedback, whether your experiences are good or bad, we can use your feedback to improve services as we have the power to make NHS leaders and other care providers listen to what you have to say. We look forward to seeing you there!
Pictured above are Healthwatch Champion Kim Murray with Healthwatch Devon Service Coordinator Georgina McKenzie at the Langstone Cliff Hotel, for this week's 'Reconnecting with our Community' MS Society event.
Coming up soon we are planning to be attending north and east Devon vaccination outreach locations, we will keep you updated via the next eBulletin or on our website.
Have you or a loved one been discharged from hospital in the last 12 months?
Ahead of winter, Healthwatch England are planning to analyse people’s experiences of being discharged from hospital in order to share your feedback with providers and commissioners to help improve local NHS services.
A short survey for patients and carers to share more detailed information about their discharge from hospital is available here:
South Western Ambulance Service Chief set to leave
The Chief Executive of South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) has announced his intention to leave the organisation.
Will Warrender CBE, a former Rear Admiral who served 32 years in the Royal Navy, was appointed Chief Executive at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and has led the organisation for more than three years, through some of the Trust’s most challenging times. He is also the national lead for employee wellbeing and suicide prevention at the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE).
This early announcement means that the comprehensive process to appoint a new Chief Executive will now begin, ensuring resilience and a smooth transition of leadership ahead of Will’s departure.
The Patient Coalition for AI, Data and Digital Tech in Health (The Digital Coalition) would love to hear your views on the NHS App if:
You are a user of the NHS App
You have never used the NHS App
You support friends, family or other members of your community to use the NHS App.
They also want to hear from people who rarely use digital devices and apps.
Overall, the multiple choice survey should take you around 10 – 15 minutes. If you find it difficult to answer this survey online, please call the Patients Association Helpline on 0800 345 7115 who will run through the questions with you over the phone.
Devon Partnership Trust (DPT) provide a wide range of NHS services to people with mental health and learning disability needs in Devon.
In the coming months they will be adopting the new Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF) as part of a nationwide shift in how the NHS responds to patient safety incidents. This new approach will focus on understanding how they can make changes to the healthcare system as a whole in order to improve the experiences of people who use their services.
DPT have developed a survey and would like to hear the thoughts of staff, the families and carers of those who use their services, experts by experience and external stakeholders to gather feedback on their proposals and help them identify the three priorities that they will be using for the next year.
These priorities will be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changes to the data and help us to respond to emerging patterns and trends.
The map shows the locations of all of our Healthwatch Assist Network members.
Our Assist Network allows us to build links with communities so we can gather information about the health and care services they use. We simply want to know what is and is not working. This information is fed back into the community and shared with key healthcare decision makers who can learn from good practice and make improvements to local services.
Can't see your community group on the map? Join the Network today and become an Assist member with so many others!
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.