Audiology Services

We would like to hear from Northumberland residents about their experience of using local audiology services (services to help with hearing loss) and the aftercare they receive. We are interested in finding out what is working well and what needs improvement. We will be at the following locations where you can call in and tell us about the services you’ve used.

Bellview Centre, Belford: Tuesday 10 September, 2.00pm – 3.00pm
Ponteland Medical Centre: Thursday 12 September, 12.00pm – 1.00pm
Age UK, Ashington: Wednesday 18 September, 10.00am – 11.00am
Adapt (NE), Hexham: Thursday 19 September, 1.00pm – 2.30pm
Seaton Delavel Community Centre: Tuesday 1 October, 10.00am – 11.00am

If you are unable to make one of these sessions and would like to feedback about audiology services, please get in touch with us directly

The Hear to Help Project from Action on Hearing Loss closed at the end of April 2019. Hearing aid support is now available directly from NHS audiology services. Find out where you can get support.

NHS Long Term Plan – Our Report

Thanks to everyone who told us their views on the local implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan.

NHS England and NHS Improvement asked Healthwatch to work with communities across the country to find out how the NHS Long Term Plan should be implemented at a local level. More than 30,000 people from across England shared their views about how the NHS can better support them in keeping well and how it can improve care for specific conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and autism.

Staff and volunteers from all 151 local Healthwatch across England also held more than 500 focus groups, bringing together people from all sections of the community to share how they would improve local NHS services.

 

Overall Satisfaction

In Northumberland, the specific health conditions which people told us about were cancer, autism, heart and lung diseases, mental health and long term conditions. People with cancer and autism reported the most positive experiences and those experiencing dementia and mental health services, the most negative. Of this group of respondents 62% felt the support they received when they first tried to access help did not meet their needs, 23% felt it did meet their needs and 15% thought it met their needs ‘somewhat’. 17% described the waiting time to receive an initial diagnosis as ‘fast’ with 63% rating it as ‘slow’ or ‘very slow’. Those with mental health conditions were the most dissatisfied with the speed of being referred to a specialist, cancer was the only condition where the referral rate was said to be ‘fast’. People with specific conditions show a preference for diagnostic services to be within an hour’s travel time. This is especially marked for those with mental health problems.

 

Travelling for Diagnosis

71% of respondents in this category used a car as their way of travelling. Living in a large rural county an hour’s travel time is important as it has different implications for those who can drive to appointments and those who rely on public transport or being driven by friends and family. Those with dementia reported using a taxi and carers pointed out the difficulty of driving with a person with dementia. The difficulty of accessing alternative or planned transport – either NHS or charitable – was noted, as dementia is not routinely an automatic qualifying condition. People with specific conditions showed a higher preference for services up to one hour travelling time away, but were prepared to travel further.

The feedback we received in Northumberland via surveys and the focus groups we held fed into the combined Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and Durham report.

Read the full report

 

Dementia report

Are people with dementia getting the right support?

To find out whether people are getting the right dementia support as their condition deteriorates, Healthwatch England reviewed:

  • What over 700 people said about their care
  • Data from 97 councils about whether people’s needs are being assessed and reviewed
Fewer than half of all people with dementia, who use social care, are getting the regular care reviews they are entitled to. Councils must ensure that these reviews are happening in a timely fashion, to meet the requirements of the Care Act 2014 and to make all care plans responsive to people’s changing needs.

Key Findings

  • People don’t always have a clear understanding of the support available to them and how to access care.
  • On average, people wait over two months between requesting support for dementia from the council, to that support being put in place. However by the time that people ask, they are at crisis point.
  • Once people have a care plan, only 45% are reviewed annually.
  • People with dementia are more likely to receive unplanned reviews triggered by an emergency or sudden event than general social care users.
  • 65% of people with dementia who had a review were referred for a full reassessment. However, half of these reassessments led to no change in the level of care and support.
  • One third of people with dementia, using long-term care services did not receive any review, whether planned or unplanned.

 

Oral Care in Care Homes

This week Care Quality Commission (CQC) published its latest report on oral care health in care homes.

Their findings reflect what people have been telling Healthwatch nationally, including the problems people face in accessing dentists.

Key findings from CQC

  • People who live in care homes do not always get the support they need to maintain good oral health.
  • 52% of care homes have no policy in place to support resident’s oral health. This could mean care home staff are not aware of the need to support people with daily mouth care, like brushing their teeth.
  • Many residents are not able to access oral health products like toothbrushes as care homes would not provide them, as they are seen as a cosmetic product, not a health care one.
  • One third of care homes said they had had difficulty accessing routine NHS dentistry services. Some managers reported that domiciliary dentists refused to visit care homes.

In response to the publication of the report, Healthwatch England Chair, Sir Robert Francis QC, said:

“Healthwatch has investigated the lack of oral healthcare in care homes for a number of years, and it is encouraging that this issue is now being addressed. Daily oral health support, which includes simple things like the daily brushing of teeth, is important to maintaining people’s overall health and it needs to be taken seriously.

“I am pleased that we have been able to work with the CQC to raise the profile of this issue and it is encouraging to see that practices are beginning to change. We want people to have the confidence to know that if they speak up to Healthwatch, action will be taken.

“What we learnt from this report is that we must improve oral healthcare training for care workers. It can make a big difference to the health and wellbeing of people living in care homes when care workers have a better understanding of what is good practice in oral healthcare and how they can support people to maintain good oral health.

“This report makes it clear that this issue is about more than just about access to dentists in care homes. The lack of availability of dentists is an growing issue that needs immediate attention. There is an increasing number of people who struggle to access high street dentists, and we urgently need to look at how we can successfully address this issue.”

Annual Report 2018-19

Our latest annual report was published this week. The report documents our activity over the past year; where we’ve been, who we’ve heard from and how we’ve made a difference to people who use health and social care services. We will be talking more about the report at our Conference on 16 October in Blyth, so please put that date in your diary – more details to follow soon.

We will have hard copies of the report available very soon so please get in touch if you would like one in the post. You can download and read the report here.

Amble Harbour

Health and Wellbeing Board Meeting

The Newcastle Chronicle this week reported on the discussions which took place at the council’s Health and Wellbeing Board meeting, which is attended by Healthwatch Northumberland Chair, David Thompson.

Siobhan Brown, Chief Operating Officer of NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which commissions the county’s healthcare services, set out how the CCG’s operational plan for this year will help to meet the goals of the Northumberland Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

The strategy has four themes: Giving children and young people the best start in life; Empowering people and communities; Tackling some of the wider determinants of health; Adopting a whole system approach to health and care.

Read the full report

Quarterly Report October – December 2018

As independent champion for people who use health and social care services, we listen to your experiences of using these services.  This report shares the themes from the feedback we received between 1 October to 31 December 2018.

We receive feedback and enquiries by:

  • Talking to people at local community events
  • Telephone calls, emails and social media
  • Surveys
  • Focus groups on specific issues

Healthwatch Northumberland is open to all feedback about health and social care services but respondents to our Annual Survey identified five priorities for specific focus these are mental health services, dementia care services, home care, GP services and access to services.

Between October and December 2018 we had 98 individual pieces of unsolicited feedback and we spoke with approximately 530 people face to face. We attended flu clinics at GP practices in Tynedale, North Northumberland and Castle Morpeth, talking to a wide range of older residents and those with long term conditions and learning disabilities. We were at Morpeth, Berwick, Prudhoe, and Widdrington libraries during Library Week. We also attended “Winter Warmer” and SEND events, the Carers’ Rights
Day at Berwick and spoke at the Belford Parish Council and the Belford Practice Patient Participation Group.

Read the October to December 2018 report in full.

 

Engagement and Insight Officer

We have an opportunity for an Engagement and Insight Officer to join the Healthwatch Northumberland team.

Engagement and Insight Officer

Full time

Permanent dependent on funding

£23,685

Based in Hexham with travel across Northumberland

Closing date: midnight Wednesday 12 June 2019

Interviews will be held on Friday 21 June in Hexham

 

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?
  • Do you write and present in an engaging and insightful way?

Healthwatch Northumberland is the independent champion for health and social care across the county.  By joining Healthwatch Northumberland’s skilled 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 Derry Nugent, Project Coordinator: derryn@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, 03332 408468.

 

 

Application Form

Engagement and Insight Officer – Job Description

Annual Report 2017/18

Annual Survey 2019 Headlines

We had a 35% increase in responses to our annual survey this year; thank you for taking part. We had responses from all area of the county apart from just one or two postcodes. 64% of people said that overall, their experience of care services in the past 12 months had been good or excellent, whilst 13% described their experience as poor – a similar figure to last year. The main themes to emerge are:

  • GPs – many favourable comments but appointments are still a concern, in terms of availability rather than the process of getting them.
  • Communication within and between services causes concern across all services
  • Fewer concerns reported about Patient Transport than last year
  • GP services and mental health services remain a priority for people
  • Some concerns around access to services

A full report will be available soon.

Healthwatch logo and people icon

Come and Work with Us!

We are recruiting for an Engagement Officer to join our enthusiastic and effective team.

 

£23,685.56 (pro rata £13,443.15)

Part time 21 hours a week

Permanent dependent on funding

Closing date midnight  Thursday 11 April  2019

Based in Hexham with travel across Northumberland

 

Healthwatch Northumberland is the independent champion for health and social care across the county.  Our aim is 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 the population.

Health and social care are never far from the news and it’s an area that affects most of us.  Joining Healthwatch Northumberland will give you the opportunity to work as part of a skilled and enthusiastic team making the voice of local people heard.  It’s a busy time and you can help make a difference.

If you would like an informal discussion about the role and Healthwatch Northumberland, contact Derry Nugent, Project Coordinator: derryn@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk.

 

Job Description

Application Form