Healthwatch Northumberland Annual Report 202223
Our latest annual report highlights the work we have done over the past 12 months in Northumberland, to engage with communities and where we have worked with commissioners and providers to highlight key issues. This year over 1900 people shared their experiences of health and social care services with us, helping to raise awareness of issues and improve care. Almost 5000 people came to us for clear advice and information about topics such as mental health and the cost of living crisis.
Listening to your experiences
Services can’t make improvements without hearing your views. That’s why over the last year we have made listening to feedback from all areas of the community a priority. This allows us to understand the full picture, and feed this back to services and help them improve. Read the report to find out more about how we’ve listened to the experiences of local people, including our work with families to see if NHS mental health services were working for autistic children and young people, how we’ve kept the lack of NHS dentistry provision high on decision makers agendas, and what we heard from people in Cramlington about how the closure of a 100-hour pharmacy will affect them.
Hearing from all communities
Over the past year we have worked hard to make sure we hear from everyone within our county. We think it’s important to reach out to the communities we hear from less frequently, to gather their feedback, make sure their voice is heard and that services meet their needs. This year we have reached different communities by:
- Regularly visiting a local fishing community to hear from fishermen and their families
- Listening to people who don’t often have their say through our Annual Conversation
- Working with schools to hear more from young people in Northumberland
- Holding monthly face-to-face drop-in sessions across the county
Information and support
Our Signposting and Information Service provides confidential support and free information to help you understand your options and get the help you need. Whether it’s finding a GP surgery, how to make a complaint or choosing a good care home for a loved one – you can count on us. This year we’ve helped people by:
- Providing up-to-date information people can trust
- Helping people access the services they need
- Hosting monthly online information sessions about a range of conditions
- Supporting people to look after their health during the cost of living crisis
In the ten years since Healthwatch was launched, we’ve demonstrated the power of public feedback in helping the health and care system understand what is working, spot issues and think about how things can be better in the future. Services are currently facing unprecedented challenges and tackling the backlog needs to be a key priority for the NHS to ensure everyone gets the care they need. Over the next year we will continue our role in collecting feedback from everyone in our local community and giving them a voice to help shape improvements to services. We will also continue our work to tackle inequalities that exist and work to reduce the barriers you face when accessing care.
Our priorities for 2023-24
- Social Care: We will gather the experience of those residing in care homes using our Enter and View powers. We will work with Northumberland County Council as it develops its Adult Social Care Plan ensuring our communities’ views are heard.
- Health: We will focus on how people access services, especially where there are specific barriers, for instance due to the job they do or where they live. We will continue to gather experiences of primary care services.
- Volunteering, Communications and Engagement: We will increase the number of volunteers and the diversity of people involved with Healthwatch Northumberland. We will build on our 2022 experience by using more targeted focus group ‘conversations’ to gather the experiences of Northumberland residents.