SOUTHEND ON SEA
- a) Local people’s views have been obtained:
• Via the speak out page of the Healthwatch Southend website at http://www.healtwatchsouthend.co.uk/content/speak-out
• By telephone and email, continuously advertised through all communication channels
• In person at community and Healthwatch public events, group meetings and displays in public places (120 attended)
• Through hard copy speak out forms
• In person at meetings
• Through advice and information case work and complaints To date, Healthwatch Southend has logged 331 entries on the Healthwatch knowledge hub information bank. This is only possible where comments relate to a specific service or departments so cannot include comments such as, for example, ‘GP appointment waiting times are too long’ or ‘there are not enough services in place for people with dementia’. Our work is driven by trends identified in the comments we receive. Our messages and requests for comments and information reach upward of two thousand people every month.
b) For clarifications, this statutory response is ‘enabling local people to monitor the standard of provision of local care services and whether and how local care services could and ought to be improved’. It is our belief that the best way to monitor service quality is to use the service. Therefore we actively encourage and enable all patients and service users in Southend to raise concerns with and report quality to us. Where we have been alerted to significant quality or safety issues by local people, we have looked into these issues and taken appropriate action. It is testament to our local service providers and commissioners that we have met little if any resistance in these cases, and they have shown willingness to make appropriate changes to service delivery as a result. In this way, the local reputation and influence of Healthwatch Southend supports positive change through user involvement. Healthwatch Southend sits on the local authority’s people scrutiny committee (previously known as health scrutiny) and attends public meetings such as the CCG governing body. We supported two Healthwatch Southend volunteers who sat on the commissioning panel for a new local mental health service where they evaluated the bids and then sat on the interview panel also. One was a service user, the other a carer. We regularly promote opportunities to engage through local,
regional and national consultations, paying particular attention to those consultations that might otherwise go unnoticed by local people.
c) None. Please note ‘enter and view’ is a statutory power of local Healthwatch, not a statutory responsibility. Where a provider welcomes you into its service, the wielding of ‘enter and view’ powers is unnecessary. We do however reserve the right to use this power in future should the need arise.
d) Healthwatch Southend is a full voting member of the Southend health and wellbeing board and thereby directly influences commissioning decisions.
Another way we influence commissioning is through our public events that focus on specific areas of service delivery. To date we have held three of these events, focusing on:
• Asperger syndrome
• Child and adolescent mental health services.
At these events we bring together key commissioning and service delivery decision makers with users of services, the interested public and professionals to hear about, comment on and discuss local services. Our relationship management has ensured that all our statutory organisations have shown willingness to be involved and to use the intelligence gathered from local people to influence decision making. For example, following our Asperger event the local Asperger support group were invited to sit on the learning disabilities partnership board, and the Southend health and wellbeing board included a review of Asperger services in its work plan for the year.
We have worked alongside NHS Southend CCG to help develop their planning and commissioning intentions for the next two years, promoting the ‘call to action’ and helping to facilitate a public event attended by over 100 local people where views were sought on what the priorities should be. We also sat regularly on the CCG’s commissioning reference group alongside representatives of patient participation groups in the area, some of which we have been able to visit directly to discuss issues.
e) As above, we sit on the Southend health and wellbeing board where provision of public health services locally is decided upon. We also share local public health messages via our communications channels which have significant reach.
f) Starting from the 15 April 2013 we have provided a 9-5pm Monday to Friday advice, information and signposting service, with a dedicated worker recruited and trained by the local CAB, which has to date supported approx. 570 people with information and advice. We also offer advocacy for health complaints, mostly by face to face meetings with people as part of a joined-up service; information provided by our advocates is additional to the 570 people above.
Our website has received almost 3,000 visits, with over 1,800 unique visitors and over 10,700 page views. We have over 500 followers on Twitter.
g) We have not as yet requested special reviews or investigations by Healthwatch England, but we have escalated some issues to it and forwarded a number of comments from people that related to national policy rather than local commissioning and delivery. We attend appropriate Healthwatch regional meetings and conferences and are in close contact with the regional development worker and other Healthwatch England staff. We have responded to all Healthwatch England requests for information to inform its national work.