Lived Experiences of Changes to Mental Health, Camden

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Camden offered to work with the service users at the Highgate Centre to co-design a research project that would seek to capture, in real time, their lived experiences of the service changes at the Centre, this followed service changes in 2015-16 which service users reported their concerns about. Eleven service users volunteered to record regular weekly “audio diaries” over the course of the changes at the Highgate Centre for 30 weeks. These eleven were broadly representative of the total body of service users which included men and women, older and younger people and were from a range of ethnic groups including black and minority groups. As a result of the analysis of the data sets a series of recommendations were made and included: • The concerns of existing service users must be respected as valuable evidence for planning service change. • Service user engagement around changes to existing services should be rigorous in methodology and serious in intent. • The support needs of existing service users should be a priority concern during changes to services. Support provided should begin early and remain consistent. • Change management should ensure consistency and transparency in feedback loops for the communication of decision making to service users. • A joint formal apology to service users at the Highgate Centre for the negative impact on their wellbeing that resulted from the changes and poor management of the change process should be provided. The report includes a response from Camden Council and Camden and Islington Foundation Trust where it acknowledges the findings and states they were committed to working proactively with service users and an apology to service users during the process.

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General details

Report title 
Lived Experiences of Changes to Mental Health, Camden
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Camden
Date of publication 
Saturday, 7 October, 2017
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 11 November, 2015
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 6 June, 2016
Type of report 
Public opinion
Key themes 
Public involvement
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
User stories
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Secondary care services 
Counselling/improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT)
Day care
Mental health services 
Mental health recovery service

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of disabilities 
Mental health

Details of people who shared their views

Age group 
Not known
Mixed / multiple ethnic groups
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Not known
Does the information include staff's views? 
Not known
Does the information include other people's views? 
Not known
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.