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Just three ways Healthwatch are making sure everyone’s voice gets heard


Last year, local Healthwatch engaged over 300,000 people across England to help understand people’s experiences of care, but how do they do it?


Here are just three examples that were recently were recognised at the Compact Awards 2015.

Improving services for the deaf community

Healthwatch Redbridge won an award for their work supporting members of the deaf community to raise awareness and tackle the problems they face accessing health services in London.

Healthwatch Redbridge led a partnership of 12 local Healthwatch to develop and support the involvement of profoundly deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL) in improving local services.

Individuals where trained to visit services and gather the views and experiences of the people receiving care on behalf of local Healthwatch.  Once trained, the volunteers visited health and care services looking at deaf access in three London Emergency Departments.

All NHS trusts where visits have taken place have been receptive to learning from the visits and have committed to changing systems and practice as a result. 

Local councils are also using the deaf volunteers to help ensure their services are accessible for people who are deaf, and to help with staff training and development. Read more.

Supporting people with learning disabilities to be heard

Healthwatch Essex were highly commended for their work to ensure the experiences of people with learning disabilities are used to improve health and social care services.

Healthwatch Essex has recruited, trained and supported 16 ambassadors who have learning disabilities. These ambassadors are now part of a county wide multi-agency working group who play a key role in promoting and increasing the volume of learning disability health checks across Essex.

The local Healthwatch also created a film with their ambassadors, designed to raise awareness of the difficulties people with learning disabilities face when accessing services with NHS and Social Care personnel. Read more.

Working in partnership for change

Healthwatch Merton was nominated for an award in recognition of their engagement work locally.  The local Healthwatch has worked hard to develop strong, transparent relationships and partnerships with organisations and groups covering health and social care locally. This includes the voluntary sector, social services, public health, Merton Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS trusts and more.

Healthwatch Merton has been part of more than 16 specific service improvements, developments or review programmes in partnership with others - bringing the health and social care experiences of the local community to discussions to improve care. 

Read more about the 2015 Compact awards.