Join our online forums

As we will be unable to get out and about across the county to meet with and listen to people for a while, we’re holding some public online forums, and we’d like you to join us. If you are unable to take part but would like to tell us about your experiences of these services, members of the team will be available by phone, text and email (see below) each Wednesday between 3.00pm and 4.00pm to listen, answer any questions and help with providing information about services.

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom.


Online Forums

Wednesday 20 May 2.00pm – 3.00pm: Dementia Services

Wednesday 27 May 2.00pm – 3.00pm: Adult Social Services (to include support to live independently, care homes, learning disability services)

Wednesday 3 June 2.00pm- 3.00pm: Mental Health Services

Wednesday 10 June 2.00pm – 3.00pm: Special Eduction Needs and Disabilities

Wednesday 17 June 2.00pm – 3.00pm: Maternity services

If you would like to take part please email contact Lesley Tweddell,, or call 07803 427 466.

Changes to how we operate

We are following government advice and guidelines in light of the coronavirus outbreak and have made changes to the way we operate. We have postponed all of the community events we had planned and from Monday 23 March our staff will be mainly working from home. We are still very much open for business, so if you want to give us feedback on a service you’ve used, or if you are looking for information on local health or support for a particular issue, you can call our signposting service. Get in touch on 03332 408468 or email

Our board meeting scheduled for 24 March will not physically take place, but our board members are very much working away in the background and discussing future plans for Healthwatch Northumberland.

We will keep you updated with our plans on our website, Facebook and Twitter pages as things develop nationally.

Latest NHS coronavirus guidance

Project to get Voices Heard

Last year we launched the Your Voice Fund, and awarded four small grants to local organisations which will run projects with their service users.

These projects will help us gather the views of people whose experiences we don’t hear enough about, in particular, people with learning disabilities, people from LGBTQ+ communities, young people, black and minority ethnic communities and people living in Northumberland through asylum or refugee resettlement programmes.

Northumberland County Blind Association will be holding workshops and focus groups with 150 visually impaired people, bringing people’s experiences and views on health and social care services together in order to influence and inform service providers and decision makers.

Northumberland County Council Youth Council will use the grant to create wallet cards, digital graphics and posters to share with schools, youth and health settings to promote self-care and mental health support services that are available to children and young people.

A Creative Café will be held at Headway Arts in Blyth, for 30 people with a learning disability and their carers to discuss their experience of the healthcare system in a safe and supportive environment.  The event will be filmed and people’s thoughts presented through a video piece.

Being Woman (based in etc) will also use the grant to support a conversation café activity called ‘KITES – when you are your own voice’. Here, 50 people from various ethnic backgrounds and at risk of social isolation can share ideas, thoughts and experiences of health and social care services and reported back to those running and paying for services.

Healthwatch Northumberland Project Coordinator Derry Nugent says “We’re really happy to work with these local organisations who can help us listen to the care experiences of those we don’t hear from very much. These projects will help us share people’s voices with the service providers and decision makers and help make services better for residents of Northumberland. “

Fareeha Usman, Founder of Being Woman says “This project will help underrepresented communities have their say on health and social care services, in a safe environment. The KITES cafe will help us remove barriers and promote equal access to local services to the migrant and BAME population in Northumberland.”

Allie Walton-Robson, Creative Director at Headway Arts says “We’re inviting people to come along to our Creative Café in Blyth on Thursday 21 May for a nice cup of tea, a chat and a chilled out creative workshop. This time we are working with Healthwatch Northumberland and focusing our chat on healthcare to offer disabled people a real chance to provide feedback on their experiences. On the day we will be welcoming people along to enjoy our beginners painting workshop using lovely vibrant colours and to try out print making with our PrintAble artists. It’s a relaxing session and also a time to talk about experiences whilst feeling supported to do so.”

We look forward to sharing the results of the project with you later in the year.

Healthwatch Northumberland events: Important update

We have taken the decision to cancel all of the community events we had planned over the next few weeks. We are conscious of balancing the need for public reassurance in light of the coronavirus, with our work hearing from people across Northumberland about their thoughts and experiences of health and social care services.

If you were coming to see us at one of our events to take our Annual Survey, please complete it online here or call us to go through it over the phone or request a postal copy.

We are very much still open for business, so if you want to give us feedback on a service you’ve used, or if you are looking for information on local health or support for a particular issue, you call our signposting service. Call 03332 408468 or email

We will keep you updated with our plans on our website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Read the latest government advice on the coronavirus 

Quarterly Report October – December 2019


As a listening organisation working across Northumberland, Healthwatch Northumberland wants to hear what people like about health and social care services and what can be improved. We act on what people are saying, sharing their views with those who have the power to make change happen. We also help people find the information they need about services in their area and record this as ‘signposting’.

We receive feedback from people living in Northumberland about their experiences throughout the year. This report shares a summary of the feedback collected from October to December 2019.  The next report will cover January – March 2020.


This quarter we received feedback and enquiries from:

  • Telephone calls, emails and social media (31%)
  • Postal surveys and feedback forms (12%)
  • Talking to people at local engagement events (27%)
  • Through a meeting (27%)
  • Through a third party (4%)

Areas of Focus

We are open to all feedback about health and social care services. Responses to our Annual Survey helped us to identify three specific Areas of Focus which we are prioritising in 2019/20:

  1. General Practitioner Services (GP Services)
  2. Mental Health Services, including dementia care
  3. Access to Services


The report aims to increase understanding of:

  • Who Healthwatch Northumberland is hearing from
  • What people are saying
    • The general sentiment of comments
  • What people are experiencing
    • What is working well?
    • Where there are areas for improvement?


Between October and December 2019, we received 26 pieces of feedback through talking to people at local engagement events, telephone calls, emails, our website, surveys and feedback forms and other sources. Alongside this, we signposted 17 people to services. Altogether we had 39 different recordable interactions this quarter.

This report explores who Healthwatch Northumberland is hearing from across the county, presenting a summary demographic information of those who got in touch. Demographic information includes location, gender, age, and whether the respondent is sharing their own health and social care experience or speaking on behalf of a friend or relative.

We also look at whether the feedback is negative or positive, with specific reference to the service type (e.g. primary care, secondary care, mental health, social care), as well as whether the feedback relates specifically to quality of care or access to services.

Read the Quarterly Report for October to December 2019

Healthwatch Northumberland Annual Survey 2020

Tell us your NHS, health and care experiences from last year.

We are running our annual survey during February and March this year, asking you about the NHS, health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

You can also come and talk to us and tell us what you think of health and social care services at one of our public events below. Let us know about your experiences, what went well and what could be improved, and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you are unable to come to one of our events you can leave your feedback via our online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.


Come and see us in your area!

Monday 3 February: Age UK Northumberland, Round House, Ashington NE63 9JZ: 10.00am – 1.00pm (part of the Northumbria Cancer Patient and Carer Group public drop-in)

Tuesday 4 February: Amble Youth Project NE65 0DT: 10.00am – 11.30am (Bridge Project Employability Hub)

Wednesday 5 February: No 28 Community Project, Hexham NE46 1DJ: 11.00am – 12.30pm (Bridge Project Employability Hub)

Thursday 6 February: Concordia Leisure Centre, Cramlington NE23 6YB: 1.30pm – 3.30pm

Thursday 6 February: Cheviot Centre, Wooler NE71 6BL: 2.00pm – 4.00pm (in partnership with Wooler patient participation group)

Wednesday 12 February: Rothbury Practice NE65 7UW: 10.30am – 12.00pm

Thursday 13 February: Northumbria Hospital (cafe area, lower ground floor), Cramlington NE23 6NZ: 10.00am – 12.00pm

Thursday 13 February: The Village Surgery, Cramlington NE63 6US: 3.00pm – 4.00pm

Thursday 13 February: Forum Family Practice, Cramlington NE63 6QN: 4.15pm – 5.15pm

Friday 14 February: Spetchells Centre, Prudhoe NE42 5AA: 10.00am – 11.30am (Bridge Project Employability Hub)

Wednesday 19 February: Seaton Delaval Community Centre NE25 0BW: 10.00am – 1.00pm (part of the Northumbria Cancer Patient and Carer Group public drop-in)

Wednesday 19 February: Adapt (NE) Community Information Morning, Hexham NE46 3HN: 10.30am – 12.30pm

Thursday 20 February: Morpeth Library NE61 1AF: 3.00pm – 5.00pm

Tuesday 25 February: Riverside Leisure Centre, Morpeth NE61 1PR: 1.30pm – 3.30pm


Wednesday 4 March: Morpeth Town Hall NE61 1LZ: 10.00am – 1.00pm (part of the Northumbria Cancer Patient and Carer Group public drop-in)

Monday 9 March: Hexham General Hospital NE46 1QJ: 10.00am – 1.00pm

Wednesday 11 March: Blyth Library NE24 2DJ: 10.30am – 12.00pm

Wednesday 11 March: Blyth Sports Centre NE24 5BT: 1.30pm – 3.30pm

Thursday 12 March: Haltwhistle Leisure Centre NE49 0AX: 1.30pm – 3.00pm (Bridge Project Employability Hub)

Thursday 12 March: Haltwhistle Methodist Church NE49 0AX: 5.00pm – 7.00pm

Wednesday 18 March: Wansbeck General Hospital, Ashington NE63 9JJ: 10.00am – 1.00pm

Wednesday 18 March: Ashington Leisure Centre NE63 9JY: 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Thursday 19 March: Berwick Library (first floor) TD15 1DB: 12.00pm – 2.00pm

Monday 23 March: Bedlington Community Allotment (behind Chester Court Care Home) NE22 7LD: 11.30am – 1.30pm

Friday 27 March:  Gallery Youth Project, Alnwick NE66 1SX: 11.00am – 12.30pm (Bridge Project Employability Hub)





Buildings from Wylam bridge

Riversdale Surgery Relocation

Are you a patient at Riversdale Surgery in Wylam?

The practice has received a decision in principle to move its operations to the Oaklands Centre in Prudhoe and is asking patients to complete a short survey about what this might mean for them.

Responses given together with the engagement report we did in 2018, will be used to understand how the practice can address any concerns (you can read our report here).

The practice is particularly keen to hear from patients who find it difficult to travel to Prudhoe and to understand what the practice could do to help them.

The survey closes on Sunday 26 January and a summary of the findings will be put on the surgery website in the next few weeks.

Find the survey on the Riversdale Surgery website

Home Care Provision in Coquetdale

Home Care Provision in Coquetdale

This report is the result of joint work between Carers Northumberland, the Coquetdale Carers and Service Users Group and Healthwatch Northumberland looking at the issues of providing Home Care services in the Coquetdale area.
Based on two surveys carried out in 2018, it shows the key concerns and expectations of people who use services and their carers are communication and continuity of service. It also clearly highlights the challenges faced by agencies providing health and care services in a rural area.
We are pleased that Northumberland County Council’s Adult Social Care commissioner was actively involved throughout the process and responded positively to the process and findings and we welcome the progress reported by Age UK Northumberland.
However, the main thank you is to Cathy Jacobs of the Coquetdale Carers and Service Users Group who organised and analysed the surveys and most importantly set the tone for the work from the beginning of raising concerns but at the same time providing insight and suggestions for making things better.

You can read the home care report here



Communication and Marketing Assistant

We are looking for a Communication and Marketing Assistant to join our team.

Communication and Marketing Assistant

Part time – 20 hours per week

Permanent dependent on funding

Based at Adapt (NE), Hexham

Salary: £20,395 per annum pro rata (£11,024.32 per annum – actual)

Closing date for applications: midnight, Wednesday 29 January

Interview date: 5 February 2020


Could this be you?

  • Are you passionate about improving local NHS and social care services?
  • Do you enjoy talking to people and listening to their experiences?
  • Can you create content that is engaging and accessible?

Healthwatch Northumberland is the independent champion for people who use health and social care services.  By joining our committed and enthusiastic team you will have the opportunity to use your communication skills to give a voice to people who use those services, influence positive change to services and help meet the health and social care needs of our communities.

Below you will find the application form, job description and a link to our latest annual report.

If you would like an informal discussion about the role and Healthwatch Northumberland, contact Claire Jackson, Communication and Marketing Officer:, 03332 408468.

Healthwatch Northumberland Communication and Marketing Assistant job description and person specification

Healthwatch Northumberland Communication and Marketing Assistant application form

Healthwatch Northumberland Annual Report 2018/19


Hearing Loss Services for Northumberland

We have spoken to people across the county as part of our work on audiology services – services to help with hearing loss – and are busy putting together our report which we will be able to share with you in the new year. Thank you if you’ve talked to us about your own experiences.

Action on Hearing Loss provides support and information at venues across the area.  Whether you’re just noticing hearing problems or have lived with them for years, these sessions can answer your questions and give you the information you need to take control. There’s also help in supporting a loved one with hearing loss or tinnitus.

Come and chat to knowledgeable Information Officers and volunteers and pick up expert information covering:

  • hearing loss
  • tinnitus
  • ear problems and treatments
  • hearing aids and cochlear implants
  • useful products and technology
  • communication tactics and support
  • benefits and grants
  • your rights.

They can also tell you about useful services in your area, and the latest Action on Hearing Loss research and campaigns.

Information Stands:

Freeman Hospital, last Monday of the month, 10.00am – 12.00pm

Blyth Library, first Monday of the month, 10.00am – 12.00pm

Hexham Hospital, third Monday of the month, 10.00am – 12.00pm

Berwick Library, third Thursday of the month, 11.00am – 1.00pm


There’s also a ‘Hear to Meet’ group in Morpeth, where you can meet others with hearing loss in Morpeth to share experiences and have some fun. This takes place on the second Wednesday of every month except August, 2.00pm – 4.00pm.

Full details and more information on Action on Hearing Loss services