Man and a woman sitting in a hospital waiting room

Making hospital discharge safer

During the pandemic, hospitals were given the green light to discharge patients more quickly. Although this helped free up beds, it also affected care quality and safety for some patients. Thanks to your feedback, people discharged from hospital can now expect better support, including welfare checks that consider psychological and financial need. We’re pleased to hear the Government take on our recommendations, and we’ll continue to check that this guidance is working for you.

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dentist wearing her eye protectors

Moving NHS dentistry up the agenda

We are passionate about making sure everyone has access to an NHS Dentist and are determined to keep this issue front and centre of decision makers’ minds. With your feedback, we were able to encourage MPs across the country to raise the issue in Parliament. And we haven’t stopped there. Find out more about what we’ve already achieved and our plans for the future.

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Man sitting in a canteen

Helping to prevent issues with NHS Data collection

Many of you were worried about how the NHS would use your data, particularly those held by GP practices across England. Although the information collected would support better planning, identifying new treatments and preventing the spread of infections – it’s your right to choose whether your data is shared.

We raised your concerns with the NHS that the public needed more information and time to opt out.

The NHS has taken our findings and recommendations on board and have delayed the deadline to opt-out – giving you a bit more time to make your mind up. Read our article for all you need to know.

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Man standing in front of a roundabout with a red bus in the background

Improving transport services for everyone

If you’re physically unable to travel, can’t afford transport, or live in a rural area, getting to your GP or hospital appointment can be next to impossible.

Thanks to sharing your views with us, together we’ve helped improve non-emergency patient transport services. The NHS has proposed new, clear, and consistent eligibility criteria for support, and has also committed to improving the coordination and communication of appointments using better technology.

 Find out what recommendations the NHS have now taken on board.

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Our year in numbers 2019-20

350,000

People shared their story about health and social care story with their local Healthwatch.

960,000

People accessed advice and information online, by phone, or face-to-face.

 

250+

COVID-19 reports were published for professionals about people's first hand experiences of care.

3,900+

people volunteered their time last year to help make a difference to local health and care services

Healthwatch during the pandemic

At Healthwatch, listening to the issues that really matter to local communities is what we do best. This meant that when the pandemic struck, we had in-depth knowledge of our communities and were ready to tackle the pandemic head on and quickly keep people safe. This ranged from bringing together 1,500 volunteers in Bracknell Forest to delivering medicine and food parcels in Stockport.

We also saw more people than ever last year access our advice to find the latest guidance to cut through the confusion.

Additionally, your feedback was vital in highlighting to us what needed to change nationally. For example, when unpaid carers told us they were worried about contracting coronavirus and could not care for their loved ones, we were able to call for this group to be prioritised for a COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition we also:

  • Helped shape the rollout of the NHS Volunteers Responder scheme and how they work with local initiatives.
  • Flagged the issues volunteers face, such as shortages in Personal Protective Equipment.
  • Alerted Government and the NHS to the lack of accessible information on COVID-19.
  • Ensured that the NHS considered privacy issues with the COVID-19 tracking app.