We believe greater public involvement in health and social care is critical to overcoming the challenges our society faces. This is why in 2017 we asked the public, our staff and volunteers to help shape our future strategy.
We heard about the main issues people thought we should focus on to help make health and social care services work better for them. Our strategy draws on the ideas and views that people shared with us and explains what we want to achieve over the next five years.
We have set ourselves clear and ambitious targets to ensure we deliver three strategic goals.
1. Supporting people to have their say
We will help more people access the information they need to take control of their health and care, make informed decisions and shape the services that support them.
In doing this we will double the number of people we support over the next five years so, by 2023, more than a million people each year will be sharing their views or finding the information they need.
2. Providing a high quality service
We will help ensure that people in every local authority area in England receive a high quality Healthwatch service and understand the difference their views have made to health and care.
Our support will ensure our staff and volunteers have the skills and tools they need. By 2023, we aim to be able to tell anyone who shares their views with us how this has made a difference.
3. Ensuring people’s views help improve health and care
We will help ensure professionals use people’s views to shape the health and care support we all need, now and in the future.
We want to transform the way health and social care professionals and policy makers use our evidence. We are aiming to double the number of our recommendations implemented by services by 2023.
In our first five years we have worked hard to understand what matters to people about health and care and to make sure that those who run services hear these views.
We have developed our new strategy to take account of the changing health and care landscape. There are big challenges when it comes to making sure people have the support they need, but also significant opportunities for services to better meet people’s expectations and for individuals to take greater control of their health, care and wellbeing.
In 2017, we asked people to tell us the biggest challenges we face, the opportunities we can take advantage of and how the Healthwatch network could work differently to have an even greater impact.
Healthwatch across England published 1,745 reports about people’s experiences last year to show professionals what is working and what could be better when it comes to the support they provide. We estimate that around four in ten Healthwatch recommendations about local services are currently implemented. By 2023, we aim to see take up double.
The strategy sets out clear goals and describes how we will know if we are being successful after one, three and five years. We will also take stock at the end of each financial year to make sure we are on track to deliver our aims.
Jane Mordue, Chair of Healthwatch England, said:
“We want a health and care system that works for everyone, today, tomorrow and in the long term. Health and care services face some big challenges in the years ahead. If they are going to rise to the occasion then the views and experiences of people using hospitals, GPs and care services – especially those of us who are often overlooked or find it hardest to be heard – need to be right at the heart of how services are planned and delivered.
“Our new strategy sets out a clear ambition to enable hundreds of thousands more people to share their views and ideas, and to ensure this insight is increasingly used by everyone who designs and delivers care.
“We don’t intend to do this simply by acting alone as Healthwatch England. Together with our local network, working as a united Healthwatch, and collaborating with others who share our common purpose, we’re looking forward to delivering the changes people have told us they need.”