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


Quarterly Report – July to September 2019

As independent champion for people who use health and social care services, we receive feedback about what is working well for people and what could be improved, and share these 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’.

The report below shares a summary of the feedback collected from July to September 2019.
This quarter we received feedback and enquiries from:
• Telephone calls, emails and social media (52%)
• Postal surveys and feedback forms (5%)
• Talking to people at local engagement events (43%)


Summary for feedback received between July and September 2019.

  • The average person feeding back to Healthwatch Northumberland is a woman aged between 65-79 from the Tynedale area. They are most likely to be feeding back about their own experiences.
  • They are most likely to get in touch with us by the telephone, email, or social media, or through engagement events we run in their local area.
  • Most people fed back to us with concerns or complaints about health services.
  • Most of our feedback is about primary care services. This quarter pharmacies and GP surgeries dominated the negative feedback we got about primary care.
  • Secondary care services also make up a large proportion of our feedback. This quarter feedback about a physiotherapy service dominated the negative feedback about secondary care.
  • We also continued to hear back about the loss of the Hear to Help Service, which was provided by Action on Hearing Loss.
  • Consistent with last quarter, most feedback was about people finding it hard to access services, rather than quality of care.
  • Healthwatch Northumberland had a total of 80 recordable interactions with people. 58 of these gave us feedback, 38 were signposted and 3 exchanged information with us.
  • We signposted to Independent Complaints Advocacy Northumberland, Carers Northumberland, North of Tyne Patient Advice and Liaison Service, and Northumberland County Council more than once this quarter, and at least once last quarter.
  • Almost half of the organisations we signposted to this quarter were voluntary sector organisations.

Read the full report for July to September 2019

Northumbria Hospital

Healthwatch at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

Working in partnership with Healthwatch North Tyneside and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, we heard from 309 people over 14 three-hour sessions in the waiting area in the Emergency Department and Paediatrics Emergency Department of the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in November 2018.  People had travelled to the hospital independently and told us why they were attending the Emergency Department, what other services they had/tried to access and what they thought could make their experiences of getting care better.

Based on what we heard we produced the report below which includes recommendations that are now being implemented by Northumbria Healthcare, Northumberland and North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Groups and North East Ambulance Service Foundation Trust.  Our observations and recommendations:

  • We suggest that a system-wide approach is needed to review the information and advice available to support people to get the care they need and help people to navigate themselves through the urgent care system.


  • A system wide approach is needed to review the transport issues people have highlighted, particularly public transport access to The Northumbria Hospital. We are pleased to note that Northumbria Healthcare has established a Rural Healthcare Commission and we hope this report will be used to help inform the discussions about transport.


  • Changes to the waiting room environment to improve experience and accessibility.


A number of changes have already taken place or are planned to the public waiting areas.

Read the report – Understanding people’s experiences of attending the Emergency Department at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

Your Voice Fund

We are very excited to announce the Your Voice Fund.  This is an opportunity for more people to have their experiences of health and social care services heard and to make those services better.  We recognise that there are some people we do not hear from enough. In particular:

  • People with learning disabilities
  • People from the LGBTQ+ communities
  • Young people
  • Black and minority ethnic communities
  • People living in Northumberland through asylum or refugee resettlement programmes

Small grants of up to £1,000 are available for projects which can:

Gather people’s views and experiences of health and social care services in Northumberland,


Respond to views you have already gathered, deliver an activity, create a resource or run a promotional campaign about a health and care issue in Northumberland.

Talk to us about your ideas and find out more below.

Your Voice Fund Information Pack


Quarterly Report – April to June 2019


Healthwatch Northumberland is the independent champion for people who use health and social care services. We are a listening organisation working across Northumberland, interested in what people like about 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’.
People who use health and social care services tell Healthwatch Northumberland about their experiences throughout the year.

This report shares a summary of the feedback collected from April to June 2019. The next report will cover July to September 2019.

This quarter we received feedback and enquiries from:
• Telephone calls, emails and social media (611%)
• Postal surveys andfeedback forms (24%)
• Talking to people at local community events (11%)
• Through meetings and third parties (3%)

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

Read the April to June Report in full


Healthwatch Northumberland Conference 2019

Thank you if you joined us at our Conference in Blyth on 16 October! We hope you found the sessions useful and informative. Please see all of the presentations below, including the short film we were unable to show on the day. If you would like more information on any of these subjects, please get in touch and we will make sure your enquiry reaches the right people.

Draft minutes of Healthwatch Northumberland AGM Conference 2019


Review of the year and AGM: David Thompson and Derry Nugent

Community Involvement: Mark Johns, North East Ambulance Service

Primary Care Networks: Pamela Phelps, Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group

Marine Medical Patient Participation Group: Carole Pitkeathley

Social Prescribing: Tara Twigg-Robson, Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group

Mary’s story. Part of the Social Prescribing presentation

Review of the Ageing Well Programme: Louise Sweeney, Public Health

Mental Health Trailblazer: Rhian Davies, Northumbria Healthcare

A Space at the Table: Film created by Hexhamtv with Dry Water Arts

Substance Misuse Health Needs Assessment: Louise Sweeney, Public Health


Healthwatch Northumberland Board

Healthwatch Northumberland – Join our Board

Healthwatch Northumberland Board

Healthwatch Northumberland is looking for up to four exceptional people with a keen interest in, and passion about, ensuring local communities have their say on heath and social care services, to join our board.

Find out more below and please apply by 6 November 2019.


Healthwatch Northumberland Board Recruitment Information

Application Form

Healthwatch Northumberland Strategic Plan

Help us understand Patient Participation Groups

Help Healthwatch Northumberland  to understand Patient Participation Groups


We have an exciting opportunity for someone to help us understand more about how the Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) in the county work and how they interact with the health service commissioners and providers.

Healthwatch Northumberland is committed to working in partnership with key groups in local communities and with decision makers, providers and commissioners of health and social care services.   We recognise that PPGs in GP practices are an important way in which local people can influence the services on offer, and how improvements can be made for the benefit of patients, carers and the practice.

The brief below tells you more about the work we would like to do and how you could help us to achieve it.   The closing date for submissions is 9.00am on 24 October.

To discuss the project contact Derry Nugent, Project Coordinator  derryn@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk or 03332 408468


Understanding Patient Particpation Groups in Northumberland



Where to find Hearing Loss Services

As we hear from people across the county about their experiences of audiology services in Northumberland – services to help with hearing loss – it is becoming apparent that not everyone knows where their local service is and what is on offer. The information below shows clinic locations and times, plus places where hearing aid supplies are provided. Some GP practices, district nurses and libraries also supply hearing aid batteries. Please check with your local service.


Audiology Services for residents of Northumberland. The contact number for all locations is: 0191 223 1043. Email: tnu-tr.audiology@nhs.net


Freeman Hospital, Adult Hearing Aid Repairs

9am to 4pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays)

There is also a postal service available from the Freeman for replacement tubing and batteries. Please call for details.


Alnwick Infirmary

Tuesdays by appointment only



Union Brae & Norham Practice, Berwick

Tuesdays by appointment only

n.b. Replacement batteries are now supplied by Berwick Library in the town centre Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm and 10:00am to 5:00pm on Saturdays


Corbridge Health Centre

Tuesdays by appointment only


NHS Cramlington, Manor Walks

Monday, Tuesday and Friday by appointment only, excluding Bank Holidays


Hexham General Hospital

Mondays and Tuesdays by appointment only, excluding Bank Holidays


Morpeth NHS Centre

Thursday and Friday by appointment only


North Tyneside General Hospital

Monday afternoon, Wednesday and Thursday all day and Friday afternoon, by appointment only, excluding Bank Holidays


Oaklands Health Centre, Prudhoe: hearing aid/s batteries are provided here


Ponteland Medical Group: hearing aid/s batteries are provided here


For more support and information on hearing loss please contact Action on Hearing Loss on: 01670 513606.

Mental health and the Journey to Parenthood

Find out what’s working well for people and what needs to improve when it comes to people about their mental health experiences before, during and after pregnancy, in a new Healthwatch report.

The arrival of a new baby is a major life event for any family. It can be joyful, exciting, overwhelming and challenging all at once, so it’s essential that parents get all the support they need to help them form strong bonds with their children and help lay the foundations for a healthy, happy life for all involved.

Over the last year, our network has gathered views and experiences from women and their partners. Each one of these stories was different and highlighted that every person’s experience is unique to them.

Three common issues

  • People feel their mental health problems are triggered by a variety of issues
  • People don’t know where to turn for help
  • People feel scared about how people will respond if they speak up
  • Healthwatch is calling on everybody who interacts with prospective and new parents to make more space for people to discuss how they’re feeling, and to find out what they need to do if they need mental health support.

Find out more about what people said in the report.