#ItStartsWithYou campaign launches in Northumberland

#ItStartsWithYou campaign launches in Northumberland with three stories.  Healthwatch wants thousands more.

A national Healthwatch campaign launches this week to encourage people across the country to share their experiences to help make health and care better for their communities.

Run by the independent health and care champion Healthwatch England, the #ItStartsWithYou campaign returns for a second year. The campaign encourages people to have their say, and highlights the difference that people are already making to health and social care services by sharing their experiences.

An #ItStartsWithYou award celebrates the dedication of people using their voice to make a difference to care of others. Those shortlisted for this award, which will be announced at our annual conference, in October, include:

  • Errol Campbell from Bristol is campaigning and leading an organisation called Friends of Caswell Thompson to raise awareness of the high incidence of prostate cancer in the Afro Caribbean community. Caswell was a close friend of Errol’s, who died from prostate cancer. Errol has spoken at many community events to encourage men to get tested. While one in eight men will get prostate cancer in their lives, for black men it is much worse – one in four will get the disease. Errol and the team at Friends of Caswell Thompson organised the first awareness-raising day last year, getting 135 people involved in workshops, information sessions and personal testimonies. He believes that lives have been saved as some men have had early diagnosis


  • Tony Bentley from County Durham tried to find information about care homes when looking for one for his mother and had difficulty finding even basic information. There were no details of CQC ratings, of fees or what services homes provided. His simple internet search turned into a major research project. Thanks to Tony, all care homes with a contract with the county council now have to provide information to a set standard, which is now in the public domain. The public have much more information about the homes available, which helps them make more informed decisions. Tony also helped to develop a best practice website for providers, so they can learn how to improve their own websites.


  • Families of Nascot Lawn stopped the closure of Nascot Lawn Respite Service in Watford. The service provides short breaks for children with disabilities and learning difficulties. The families presented evidence to a high court judicial review, and the judge found in their favour. The families argued that the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the local authority should work together to decide how they can continue to operate this vital community service. By taking their case to the High Court, the families have had a national impact on the way local services are viewed and funded.


In recognition of these dedicated individuals and groups, together with the many thousands more who have contributed over the last year, the #ItStartsWithYou, campaign is designed to highlight the difference people can make by sharing their experiences and to encourage more people to have their say on health and care.

Imelda Redmond, National Director of Healthwatch England, says:

“However big or small the issue, Healthwatch wants to hear about it from you. If it’s important to one person, it’s very likely that it affects other people, too. 

“By sharing your story you can help doctors, dentists, hospitals and care homes understand what’s working and what could be better, for you and your community.

“Its heartening to see a growing culture of people sharing their experiences. It might just feel like your story, but if it matters to you, it matters to us, and it really can make a difference” 

Healthwatch Northumberland Chair David Thompson says:

“With the ‘it starts with you’ initiative we are encouraging the people of Northumberland to tell us about their experiences of health and social care. Such information really does help those who make the decisions about care to improve what is available to patients, their families and friends.”