Our annual report to Parliament sends a clear message - that understanding and responding to people’s experiences of care is essential to developing better services.
The public are ready to help
In the past year, the Healthwatch network has engaged over 300,000 people. This is not only a testament to the hard work of local volunteers and staff but also to the public’s desire to help improve NHS and social care services.
With growing demand for care, the public clearly recognises the strain on services such as GPs. In fact, eight in ten people say they are interested in sharing their ideas for how their local practice can be changed to better suit their needs.
People need to be given a chance to share their experiences in ways that have an impact. According to a survey we commissioned, less than a third of people say they have been given the opportunity to share their views of healthcare services.
Our third annual report shows what is possible when people are engaged as partners in making sure that services suit their needs.
Time to do more
People understand the challenges that the NHS and social care services face and stand ready to do their bit. They want to contribute by managing their own wellbeing more and helping to build better services for their community.
However, commissioners and providers of services need to do more to capitalise on the public’s desire.
Individuals need to be treated as equal partners in determining their own care, as well as the decisions that will be taken about future services. People also have to be given the opportunity to share their views.
In the year to come we will do all we can to encourage a stronger partnership between people and services, to help make sure that tomorrow’s health and care services meet the needs of those who use them.
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