Mental Health Summary Report

In our Annual Survey 2020, mental health services was the second most chosen area where people thought we should focus our attention in the coming year. Mental health services had a high dissatisfaction rating – of those that use them 79 people said they were dissatisfied with mental health services (54%) – this was the only time more people said they were dissatisfied with a service than said they were satisfied with it. Respondents told us about a wide range of issues they had with mental health services.

People felt there could be more local mental health services
Respondents specifically mentioned Berwick Infirmary, where they felt there could be more mental health services. Respondents also called for more mental health services for autism in Hexham and Haltwhistle.

Responses from patients and staff alike highlighted a need for more resources to be put into mental health services
Patients told us there is a lack of mental health emergency beds and trained psychologists, and described Talking Matters Northumberland (TMN) as a stretched service. They also told us there is an increased demand for mental health services and that there needed to be more support for men at risk of suicide, as well as for young people. The Community Mental Health Team (CMHT), TMN, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust (CNTW) and Children and Young People’s Services (CYPS) were specifically mentioned by patients and staff alike as services that would benefit from more resources.

 

Healthwatch Northumberland Mental Health Services Report 2020

Knowledge gap restricts mental health support to the vulnerable

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

These projects are helping us to 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, asian and minority ethnic communities and people living in Northumberland through asylum or refugee resettlement programmes.

Being Woman, based in Ashington and Blyth, have been using the grant to support a conversation café activity called ‘KITES – when you are your own voice’. People from various ethnic backgrounds and at risk of social isolation have been sharing their ideas, thoughts and experiences of health and social care services.

The latest report from Being Woman shows that there is a knowledge gap restricting mental health support to the most vulnerable people in Northumberland.

A total of 61 people from BAME groups including asylum seekers and refugees were surveyed with questions around general mental health knowledge, services used and proposed future needs. 8 out of 10 people said they didn’t know they could speak with their GP about anxiety, low mood and depression.

Among the suggestions listed by respondents for better knowledge on mental health were leaflets, support groups, translation services, clubs and therapists.

Read the full report here

If you would like to tell us about your recent experience of mental health services give us a call on 03332 408 468 or tell us your story here.

Care Homes – keeping in touch with loved ones

Care home lockdown: how are you keeping in touch with your loved one?

People are telling us they are worried about care homes continuing to be closed to nearly all visits.

They understand it is safer for residents and staff and the extra efforts made to maintain the quality of life in the homes, but after six months, people say they can see the effect on their loved ones, and their own, health and wellbeing.

It seems the situation may go on for some time yet.

Sharing good practice could help make this difficult time a bit better. If your relative, loved one or friend lives in a care home we would like to know what is being done to keep you in touch day to day and on special occasions like birthdays.

We would like to know your experience of:

  • Using video calls (FaceTime, Zoom etc.) or telephone calls – does the home support these? How many times a week and how long? Does a member of staff help your loved one with the call?
  • Socially distanced visits – does the home support ‘window’ visits.  How many times a week and how for long?
  • How does the home keep you informed about how your loved one is getting on (apart from necessary issues about their care or health), for example, manager updates, photographs, videos
  • Does the home have a programme of group and one-to-one activities? Has your loved one taken part?
  • Has the home asked you what, within the current restrictions, would make this time easier?
  • What, within the current restrictions, would make it better for you and your love one?
  • When restrictions are eventually eased (not totally lifted) what would help you and your loved one?

You can tell us your experiences at one of the ways here on our contact page, text us  on 07413 385275 to make an appointment to speak to one of our team, or come along to our public online forum  around these issues on Wednesday 11 November, 2.00pm – 3.00pm.

 

Annual Survey 2020 Report

Every year we run a survey asking about your NHS, health and care experiences from the previous year. By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf. This year we had 814 respondents to our annual survey. We conducted 31 events and heard from people face to face, online, and by post.

How satisfied were people with health and social care services?

Health care

Most people (75%) were satisfied with the health services they had used in the last year and most felt that the quality of health services had stayed the same (54%).

Social care

Most respondents had not used social care services in the last 12 months (75%). 15% of respondents were satisfied with social care services, and 12% of respondents thought social care services had stayed the same.

Access to services vs quality of care

73% of respondents were satisfied with the quality of care they had received, with 9% saying they were dissatisfied. Just over a quarter of respondents found it difficult to access services (26%), with 49% reporting they had found it easy to access services.

Read the report below.

Healthwatch Northumberland Annual Survey 2020 Report

Come on Board – New Members Wanted

Healthwatch Northumberland Board Members

We are looking for exceptional people with a keen interest in local health and social care services to join our board.

Healthwatch Northumberland is the independent champion for health and social care across the county.  As the landscape of health and social care changes due to COVID, this is a crucial time to become involved.  By joining our skilled and enthusiastic board you will use your local knowledge to help us give a voice to people who use services, influence positive change to services and help meet the health and social care needs of our communities.

As you will appreciate, our aim to act as an independent ‘voice’ of the people of Northumberland in all matters related to health and social care, is even more important in these challenging times.

This particular role is to become an Independent Board Member working within an established team, details of which are given in the Board Recruitment Information pack below.

For more information contact Derry Nugent on: 07590 880016 or email: derryn@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk

The closing date for applications is 9.00am on 16 October 2020 with interviews taking place in week commencing 26 October 2020 via Zoom.

 

Healthwatch Northumberland Board Recruitment Information Pack

Healthwatch Northumberland Board Member Application Form

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join Us! Engagement Officer Vacancy

We’re looking for an Engagement Officer to join the Healthwatch Northumberland team.

  • £23,685 (pro rata £19,204)
  • Part time – 30 hours a week
  • Permanent dependent on funding
  • Closing date midnight 29 September 2020
  • Based in Hexham with travel across Northumberland (note all staff currently working from home but under review in line with pandemic guidelines)

This is a vital time for health and social care services. By joining Healthwatch Northumberland now you will use your skills and experience to develop new ways to ensure that voice continues to be heard during and beyond the COVID19 pandemic.

The full job description, application form and other relevant information can be found below. If you would like an informal discussion about the role and Healthwatch Northumberland, contact Derry Nugent, Project Coordinator: derryn@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk

Interviews will be on Monday 12 October 2020 by Zoom.

Job Description and Person Specification

Healthwatch Northumberland Strategic Plan

Healthwatch Northumberland Staffing Structure

Application Form

Virtual NHS Consultations

recent survey for the British Medical Association showed that 95% of GPs are now offering remote consultations and 88% want to see greater use of them continue in the future.

Whilst people previously told us that they welcome the idea of the NHS making better use of new technology to help make care more convenient, people’s experiences of telephone, video, and email consultations to date have been more mixed.

For some, they are working well, and many previously sceptical individuals have been converted following a positive experience. For others, these types of appointments have introduced new barriers to care.

So how can we make sure that this revolution in the way care is delivered works for everyone?

What makes a virtual appointment good?

Last week Healthwatch England published the findings of some rapid research conducted in partnership with Traverse and National Voices. Involving people who have had a virtual consultation during the pandemic, this report provides useful insights for NHS services and individual clinicians.

Key findings and recommendations

Arranging a virtual consultation:

  • Feeling safe and comfortable – It’s important for people to feel safe, comfortable and that they have a confidential space in which to talk about their medical concerns. Most of those we spoke to hadn’t received any information in advance about how the appointment would work or what they could do to help. It would be useful for patients to be alerted to this fact beforehand so that they can prepare for their appointment.
  • Making the benefits known – Secondly, to realise the benefits of people not having to travel to appointments, patients need a reasonable time window for their appointment. Where people are not given this, it leads to increased frustration, with missed calls or unexpected delays creating anxiety.
  • Getting the format right
    Most of those we spoke to had telephone consultations, but a significant number felt that video would have been better.

We heard examples where people’s level of digital literacy had not been assessed before the appointment. There were also examples discussed where people felt remote consultations would never be appropriate, such as delivering bad news following a diagnosis.

During the appointment itself

Giving people the time they need

Whichever form of remote consultation is used, people were clear that it must not mean a compromise on the quality of the interaction. Appointments must not feel rushed, patients need to feel listened to and clinicians must have all the information they need to hand.

“I didn’t know what to expect. The physio created space to ask about how I was doing. I felt heard and was able to ask questions. It was refreshing. A normal physio session would be in a crowded room, five minutes instructions, you practice the movement, they pop back after seeing other people and ask you how you are getting on, it’s rushed. I see about 15-20 health professionals a year and this is the most person-centred session I have had.”

– Maria, physiotherapy patient.

Test, learn and improve

Seek feedback

As with any significant change it is important to seek feedback and to learn from what works and what needs improvement. Yet most participants in our research reported that they weren’t asked for feedback about their remote consultation experience.When we asked them for suggestions, they identified many ways in which remote consultations could be made better. For example, enabling sessions to be recorded and played back later so people can confirm they have understood, or introducing closed captioning to help those with hearing loss.

Overall, one of the biggest learning points was around quality. While some people in the health and care system may see remote consultations as a way of delivering care more efficiently, it is clear that any impact on quality will likely see a significant drop-off in people willing to access care in this way.

Getting the most out of the virtual health and care experience

Our Strategic Plan for 2020-2022

The plan below sets out our plans for the next three years, as identified by the Healthwatch Northumberland Board.

We have three strategic aims which are the themes for our work over the lifetime of the strategy. Our work each year will be identified as meeting one or more of the aims.

Health: with the help of Healthwatch Northumberland, the views, knowledge and experiences of health service users and carers are listened to and influence changes and developments in health service in Northumberland.

Social Care: With the help of Healthwatch Northumberland, the views, knowledge and experiences of service users and carers are listened to and influence changes and developments in social care services in Northumberland.

Communication and Engagement: the people, service providers, commissioners and key stakeholders in Northumberland know, trust and are involved with Healthwatch Northumberland.

 

Read our Strategic Plan for 2020-2022

Hospital Discharge – Your Experience

To respond to coronavirus, hospitals in Northumberland and the north east had to quickly change. Tell us how this has affected the care you or your loved one has received.

If you’ve been receiving care in hospital there can be lots to think about when you’re getting ready to leave, such as any support you will need to help you manage your health and wellbeing.

During the coronavirus pandemic the usual processes hospitals follow to discharge you from their care changed to help free up beds. Because of this, if you’ve been in hospital recently you should have:

·        been discharged within two hours, once you no longer need hospital care

·        had your care and support needs assessed once you have left hospital

·        been moved to the first available bed in a care home, if you cannot go home

·        had any further care or support you need fully funded by the NHS

While these changes have successfully got people out of hospital and helped the NHS manage the demand created by coronavirus, we don’t know how the new processes are working for both patients, their families and healthcare professionals.

 

If you or your loved one is currently in hospital, find out what you should expect when being discharged in our advice and information article about leaving hospital.

 

Why should you share your experiences of care?

NHS and social care staff are doing everything they can to support people through this pandemic, but they need your help to spot issues to make sure everyone receives good care.

We’re working with the British Red Cross to listen to your experiences of leaving hospital, so we can help NHS and social care services understand how the changes brought in during COVID-19 are affecting people’s health and wellbeing – both positively and negatively.

This is why we launched our campaign #BecauseWeAllCare, to encourage everyone to support the NHS recover by providing feedback about health services.

Tell us your views

Take a few minutes to tell us what happened when you or your loved one was discharged from hospital to improve care for everyone. You can also play your part in supporting the NHS to get back on track by sharing our survey with your friends, neighbours and networks.

TAKE OUR SURVEY HERE

Want to talk to someone about your experiences? We can provide you with advice and information about local health and care services. Get in touch.

 

Share your experiences at 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. All forums take place from 2.00pm – 3.00pm.

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 after the forums 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. If you would like help to set up Zoom on your device please ask.

 

Online Forums – all take place between 2.00pm and 3.00pm

Wednesday 20 May: Dementia Services

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

 

Wednesday 3 June: Mental Health Services

Wednesday 10 June: Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Wednesday 17 June: Maternity Services

 

Wednesday 1 July: Mental Health Services

Wednesday 8 July: NHS, Health and Social Care Services – any service you’ve used in the last 12 months

Wednesday 15 July: Unpaid Carers and Mental Health Services

 

Wednesday 12 August: Cancer Services

 

Wednesday 9 September: Children and Young People’s Services. Are you a voluntary or community organisation working with young people? If so, we’d like you to join us for an open discussion on children and young peoples services, particularly around mental health services.

 

Wednesday 18 November:  Dementia Services

 

If you would like to take part in a forum please contact Laura Kane, laurak@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 03332 408468. We can also help you set up Zoom on your device so please get in touch if you would like some guidance.