Healthwatch Northumberland AGM

Thanks to everyone who attended our AGM 2017

The fourth Healthwatch Northumberland AGM which took place on Wednesday 11 October at Stannington Village Hall was attended by over 70 people. The event saw partners and local organisations come together with supporters and other members of the public to review the year of work 2016/17. Former Chair of the Board, Cynthia Atkin, was thanked by current Chair, David Thompson, for her work over the year and since the inception of Healthwatch Northumberland, and was presented with a bouquet of flowers.

Derry Nugent, Project Coordinator, gave a presentation reviewing the last 12 months, and outlining the strategic priorities for Healthwatch for the coming year and beyond.

Special guest speakers were Graham Tebbutt and Barry Dews from North East Ambulance Service, who presented on the new ambulance response times which take effect this month, and how these will affect the people of Northumberland. Many questions were raised by the audience on this interesting and important topic; more information on the standards can be found here.

A marketplace of information stands from local organisations provided support and advice for guests of the meeting; they were: Carers Northumberland, Age UK Northumberland, Northumberland County Blind Association, PALS, Northumberland CVA, Independent Advocacy and Complaints Services, Ageing Well Allies and Northumberland Cancer Support Group.

David Thompson, Chair, says; ” All in all, this was a well attended and illuminating AGM with thanks due to the many stall holders who were able to display and talk about the varied services which they offer to the wider community.  Importantly, the event also presented an opportunity for members of the public to raise issues of general concern to Healthwatch Northumberland staff and board members. This is what we are all about – listening to what people have to say about their health and care services and then responding in the most appropriate way to councillors, commissioners and providers. And that is what we shall continue to do during the remainder of this year, and beyond.”

Our new satisfaction survey was launched at the event and those who completed it were entered into a free prize draw to win a fruit basket, supplied by Fresh n Thyme Mobile Fruits and Vegetables. The basket was won by Liz Johnston of Northumberland Cancer Support Group.

The Healthwatch Northumberland AGM was filmed by Hexham TV and can be viewed on its Facebook page. Minutes of the meeting will be available here on the website shortly. Thanks go to everyone who came along and helped make the day a success.

Healthwatch Northumberland AGM

Healthwatch Northumberland AGM 2017: You’re Invited

Healthwatch Northumberland AGM 2017 will take place on Wednesday 11 October at Stannington Village Hall in Stannington, Morpeth, 10.30am – 1.00pm, where our guest speaker will be a senior member of staff from the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS). The presentation will include information on the new ambulance response standards; what it means for you and for the residents of Northumberland as a whole. Plus there will be a chance to ask questions afterwards. If you have a question for NEAS please email it through to us at: info@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk.

This will also be an opportunity to hear about our strategic plan for the year, what we have acheived in the past year and to give your feedback on the work we are doing to help put people at the heart of care in Northumberland.

A complimentary lunch and refreshments will be provided for all attendees of the meeting and there will be a small marketplace of local organisations and support groups, giving information and advice on the services they provide. Confirmed are: Carers Northumberland, Northumberland County Blind Association, Northumberland CVA, ICAN Advocacy Service, Northumberland Cancer Support Group, Ageing Well Network and PALS.

If you would like to attend the Healthwatch Northumberland AGM please let us know in advance by emailing: info@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk or calling us on: 03332 408468 before 4 October 2017. Please include any access, transport and dietary requirements you may have.

CQC consultation phase 2 response

Our response to the CQC Consultation Phase 2

Healthwatch Northumberland response to CQC Consultation Phase 2

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is currently at stage 2 of a consultation process on its plans for regulation health and social care and the ways in which it will make its processes more responsive and more transparent.  Healthwatch Northumberland did not respond to the first stage of the consultation but has provided a full to stage 2.

Our response is balanced as it is supportive and challenging in reasonably equal measures. We support all the areas where there is increased transparency and more focused and proportionate regulation as it is this type of regime that reduces the regulatory burden on providers without losing protection or creating detriment for end users.  The response, however, also makes a series of challenges where we feel that the plans being consulted on do not go far enough to protect the interests of service users, their families and carers or where we believe that the CQC is not demonstrating a recognition of the needs of that group.  The golden thread that runs through the response is that the CQC does everything possible to enable service users, their families and carers to make informed choices where choice is available and to better understand the services they receive where there is no choice.  Underpinning this is the need for significantly increased engagement with end users and their representatives and clearer demonstration by the CQC that not only does it recognise but that is acts on the needs of this most important of stakeholder groups.

Read the full response we gave to the consultation.

Elderly man drinking tea

Home care services: what people told Healthwatch

Over the last year, the number of local Healthwatch citing improvements to home care services as a priority for their community has doubled. Our new report explains what people have told Healthwatch about their experience of home care.

Across England there are more than 5,500 home care providers, collectively helping an estimated 673,000 people to continue living independently within their communities. Home care services help people live at home for longer by offering support, such as regular visits from a carer to help with personal care, getting dressed, using the toilet, shopping and preparing meals.

A new Healthwatch England report Home care services: What people told Healthwatch about their experiences, analyses the experiences of 3,415 people, their families and front line staff across 52 local areas between August 2015 and June 2017.

Most people had positive things to say about their home care. These services are invaluable to many people, both for the quality of care provided and the support and company of care workers.

Older people in particular said that one of the most positive things about home care is that it enables them to remain in their own home and to maintain as much independence as possible.

However,  four areas were discovered where people’s experiences could be improved.

Read more

Waiting room seating

Urgent Care Centres in Northumberland

Following the extension to temporary overnight closures at urgent care centres at Hexham and Wansbeck General Hospitals, we are keen to find out more about people’s understanding and usage of their local urgent care centre.

Please give us your feedback so that we can better understand where people are likely to go for particular health issues and share this information with the service providers.

To leave your views please click here

Find out more about emergency and urgent care services

Please note: This survey is now closed.

Amble Pier Northumberland

Annual Report 2016/17

Amble Pier Northumberland

The latest Healthwatch Northumberland Annual Report is now available, outlining the work undertaken by Healthwatch Northumberland during the year. See how we made a difference to people’s expeiences of health and social care in the county.

Download the Annual Report.

Mental Health Task Group

The mental health task group aims to ensure that users of mental health services and their carers have a voice and can influence mental health service delivery in Northumberland.
The group works in partnership with providers and commissioners of mental health services to bring about improvements for the benefit of all service users.
The main remits of this group are to:
  • Consider mental health issues affecting residents of Northumberland and brought to the attention of Healthwatch Northumberland.
  • Share and receive information from providers and commissioners of mental health services
  • Work in a transparent, inclusive and timely manner.
  • Consider equality and diversity issues in relation to the matters under consideration and any impact current services or future recommendations may have on equalities groups.

 

Social Care Task Group

The Social Care Task Group aimed to ensure that users and carers living in Northumberland have a voice and an influence social care services, to contribute towards improving the experience of people using social care services in Northumberland and to work in partnership with providers, commisioners and inspectors of social care services to gain a better understanding of the commissioning process and influence change where the need to do so is evident.
The group’s remit was to:
  • Understand the provision of social care services in Northumberland and monitor and challenge these services.
  • Seek the views of users and carers, follow up issues raised by them and share this information with providers, commissioners and service users.
  • Work with Northumberland County Council as principal commissioner, plus providers of social care through the Health and Social Care Liaison Group, on the findings of the task group, and link in to work undertaken by the Care Quality Commission inspection unit and Healthwatch England.
  • Monitor CQC reports and their impact on improving performance.
  • To work in a transparent, inclusive and timely manner, considering equality and diversity issues in relation to the matters under consideration, and any impact current services or future recommendations may have on equalities groups.
The social care task group was led by a member of the Healthwatch Northumberland board. Membership was open to Healthwatch Northumberland board members, staff and stakeholders with an interest in social care including carers, commissioners and providers of services relating to social care.

Access to Healthcare Task Group

The Access to Healthcare Task Group was set up to ensure that patients and carers living in Northumberland, have a voice and can influence access to health and social care service, workingin partnership with providers and commissioners of hospital services to bring about improvements for the benefit of all service users.
The group’s remit was to:
  • Investigate the experience of people in Northumberland’s access to health services.
  • Seek the views of patients and carers, follow up issues raised by them and share this information with providers, commissioners and users.
  • Work with providers and commissioners through the Health and Social Care Liaison Group, on the findings of the task group and link in to work undertaken by Healthwatch England around this issue.
  • Review accessibility to health services including issues such as: GP appointments, ambulance services, patient transport services, specialist services, A&E and access for people with disabilities
  • To work in a transparent, inclusive and timely manner, considering equality and diversity issues in relation to the matters under consideration and any impact current services or future  recommendations may have on equalities groups.
The task group was led by a member of the Healthwatch Northumberland board and membership was open to Healthwatch Northumberland board members and supporters with an interest in issues around access to health services. The group met every two months or more frequently as required.
Pregnant woman with nurse

Maternity Services Engagement

During May 2016 Healthwatch Northumberland conducted a number of discussion groups across the county in order to better understand what is most important to women at each stage of their pregnancy and the maternity services they receive.

More and more, women are choosing to deliver their babies in bigger maternity units, such as the Northumbria Specialist Care Hospital in Cramlington and the RVI in Newcastle, which have the full range of services available on one site including obstetricians and other specialists. Over the years the number of women delivering babies in the standalone units like those at Berwick, Alnwick and Hexham hospitals has declined. Some of this is down to choice and some is due to national guidance which means that fewer women now meet the eligibility criteria for delivering in a standalone midwifery-led unit.

With these changes in mind, Northumberland CCG commissioned us to lead 12 discussion groups involving women living across the county who have recently accessed maternity services.

Read the full Maternity Services Report