People talking at a Healthwatch event

Join us! Engagement and Research Officer Vacancy

Engagement and Research Officer

Healthwatch Northumberland


  • Part time – 25 hours a week
  • £23,685 pro rata – £16,003
  • Permanent dependent on funding
  • Closing date midnight Friday 15 March 2019
  • Interviews will be held on 27 March 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, especially if you have experience in gathering data and producing engaging information and reports.

If you would like an informal discussion about the role and Healthwatch Northumberland, contact Derry Nugent, Project Coordinator, on: 03332 408468 or email:


Job Description and Person Specification

Healthwatch Northumberland Strategic Plan

Application Form

Hospital reception area

Transport Implications for health services in Coquetdale

As part of the 2016 proposal to close the inpatient beds at the Rothbury Community Hospital, Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group produced a Travel Impact Report. An updated report was presented to the Rothbury Hospital Review Group in January 2019.

This report, and any examination of public transport timetables in Coquetdale, immediately demonstrates two key facts: for many people in the upper dale there is little or no public transport and the only towns directly accessible from Coquetdale are Alnwick, Morpeth and Newcastle.

Healthwatch Northumberland would add that such a study should also consider the reality of using services as well as their availability and we have looked in more detail at the most likely journeys to be taken. We also consider the issue of public transport provision in the future in the face of likely reductions in funding for concessionary and non-commercial services.
We consider some of the issues of using private cars, for example, the percentage of individuals of different ages that hold driving licences and the assumptions about car usage at different income levels.

You can read our report here.


Rothbury Village

Rothbury Hospital – Task and Finish Group

A new group will examine proposals put forward by the NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) regarding the future of Rothbury Community Hospital.

The services at the hospital are commissioned by the CCG and in October 2017 the council’s Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) met to consider the proposed closure of the 12 bed inpatient ward at the hospital, with services being shaped around a new health and wellbeing centre on the site.The committee referred the final decision to the Secretary of State for Health. Last month he announced that while the inpatient ward should not be immediately re-opened, further action is required to agree and implement the proposed health and wellbeing centre.

The Minister asked for an update on progress by the end of January 2019.

The council has already pledged to work closely with the local community, Healthwatch Northumberland and the CCG to develop proposals for the hospital over the coming months. Councillor Jeff Watson, who also leads the Health and Wellbeing OSC, will chair the new review group. At the first scoping session it was agreed that the CCG and OSC would fully engage with the community as the health and wellbeing centre is developed, while there is also a joint assessment on the impact of travel, cost and inconvenience for families and carers of those affected by the planned closure.

Councillor Watson said: “As timescales are tight it is important we set up a small working group to ensure progress is made quickly. Although an update is required by the Secretary of State by the end of January we do recognise work will continue beyond then which the OSC will need to monitor and review.”

David Thompson, Chair of Healthwatch Northumberland, added: “We welcome the opportunity to continue our involvement in this crucially important issue for people in the Rothbury area, in our role as independent health and social care champion. We would encourage people to get in touch with us with their ideas and views.”

A meeting of the review group, which the public can attend, will be held in the council chamber at County Hall on 10 December at 9.30am.

woman rubbing her shoulder

Share your views on new Musculoskeletal Service

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is looking to develop a new musculoskeletal (MSK) and pain service.  The aim is to provide a service that will improve access for patients and provide them with the opportunity to choose care based on their desired outcomes and personal preferences.

To ensure the new service is centred on people’s needs the CCG wants to hear your views. If you have ever suffered from any of the below, please help them by completing a short survey (link below).

  •              Back pain
  •              Osteoarthritis
  •              Rheumatoid arthritis
  •              Osteoporosis
  •              Fibromyalgia
  •              Neck pain
  •              Ligament injuries
  •              Sprains and strains
  •              Over-use injuries
  •              Chronic pain management, or
  •              Another MSK related condition


Complete the Muskuloskeletal Survey

The survey is open until 24 October 2018. The CCG will also set up a number of focus groups to discuss the new service during October. If you wish to be involved please contact or call 01670 335198.


young people in group

Insight Report – Young People’s Mental Health Services

This report shares the insights from Healthwatch Northumberland’s on-going work to understand the different mental health services available for young people and the barriers they may face in using them.

Using the combined evidence from young people themselves and professionals in the statutory and voluntary sectors our aim is to highlight good practice and promote positive solutions to the commissioners and providers.

Read the full report here.

graphic representing germs

Flu Clinics

The engagement team are attending flu clinics at Union Brae Surgery in Berwick and Greystoke Surgery on Saturday 29 September, asking patients about their experiences of health and social care in general, and GP services in particular. We will also be present at the flu clinics at The Sele Practice in Hexham on the mornings of Tuesday 2 and 9 October. Come and talk to us on our stand in the surgeries – look out for the green polo tops!

Collingwood Medical Group

Collingwood Medical Group

Update: 14 August 2018

Now that letters have been sent and patients have information about the closure of Collingwood Medical Group, we would like to hear from anyone who has had any problems registering with a new practice, or any other issues, to get in touch.


Patients of Collingwood Medical Group in Blyth have been informed that the current provider of the practice is unable to continue providing GP services after 30 November 2018. After careful consideration of all the available options, Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has reluctantly decided to close the practice permanently. It has issued patients with a list of alternative practices in the area is asking them to begin thinking about registering with an another practice in the coming months.

Three drop-in meetings have been arranged for any patients who would like to stop by for a short time to gain further information or raise any concerns in person. These sessions will be attended by the CCG alongside representatives from NHS England, Collingwood Medical Group, Healthwatch Northumberland and the Patient Advice and Liaison Service.

They are taking place at the following times:

• Wednesday 4 July: 1.00pm – 3.00pm, Blyth Community Enterprise Centre, Ridley Street, Blyth NE24 3AG

• Wednesday 11 July: 2.00pm – 4.00pm, Briardale Community Centre, Briardale Road, Blyth NE24 5AN

• Monday 16 July: 4.30pm – 6.30pm, Blyth Community Enterprise Centre, Ridley Street, Blyth NE24 3AG

More detailed information about practices is available on the NHS Choices website. You can also read about Patient Choice of GP Practices here.

View of Berwick town from the bridge

Berwick Hospital Proposals Engagement

As part of the consultation process, Healthwatch Northumberland was asked by NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group to hear from certain groups of people about the proposed sites and idea of a joint hospital and leisure centre in Berwick.

We spoke to 90 individuals through activity with a number of local voluntary groups and week long information stands set up in both Wooler and Berwick. People were shown maps of the proposed site locations and asked to choose a preferred location for the new hospital, and if they were in favour of a combined leisure centre and hospital.

Read the full report.


Northumbria Healthcare logo

Northumbria Healthcare announces elections for public governors

People across Northumberland and North Tyneside who are passionate about their local NHS are being given the opportunity to become more involved by standing for election as a public governor.

The role of a public governor is to represent the views of local people and help build links between the trust and the many communities it serves. Duties include holding non-executive directors to account for the performance of the board, reviewing the annual accounts/ report and representing the interests of the public in governance meetings.

Positions are available representing: Berwick upon Tweed, Blyth Valley, Hexham, North Shields, North West Tyneside, Wansbeck, Wallsend and Whitley Bay

There is also a ‘Rest of England’ constituency which will allow those who do not live in Northumberland or North Tyneside, but who have an interest in the NHS, to become involved.

The deadline for nominations is 5pm on Thursday 3 May. Nomination forms are available from Electoral Reform Service by calling 0208 889 9203, emailing, online, or by texting 2FTNH with your name and address to 88802.

Before applying to become a public governor, you must first become a member of Northumbria Healthcare. Becoming a member is very straightforward and can be done by completing an online application form or by calling 0191 203 1296.

Alan Richardson, chair of Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Our public governors play a hugely important role in our trust. They are the voice of local people and forge links with the many and varied local communities we serve. They help us to shape our priorities and develop local health care services.

“We’d urge anyone with an interest in their local NHS to get involved – you really can make a difference.”

Northumbria Healthcare covers one of the largest geographical areas in the country and provides hospital and community services in North Tyneside and hospital, community and adult social care services in Northumberland.  For further information on the role of a public governor and what it involves please see here.

The following public governor vacancies are available:


Constituency Public governor vacancies
Berwick upon Tweed 2
Blyth Valley 1
Hexham 3
North Shields 2
North West Tyneside 3
Wansbeck 4
Wallsend 2
Whitley Bay 3
Rest of England 1
Total 21
Speak Up

Speak up! about your health & social care services

We would really like to hear about your experiences of health and social care in Northumberland over the last year through our annual survey. This can be as a patient or carer. Knowing what is important to you helps us to work more effectively on your behalf. Your views will be shared anonymously and stored in line with data protection regulations. You could also be in with a chance of winning a £25 Marks & Spencer when you take the time to tell us about your experiences.

Thank you for your support us as we ensure the health and social care needs of the people of Northumberland are heard, understood and met by those responsible for commissioning and delivering services.





Silhouettes of two people jumping on a beach

Have your say on health and care: Morpeth Event

Northumberland County Council and NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are working together to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the county’s residents and reduce inequalities over the next ten years.

Health and care leaders from the Health and Wellbeing Board have drafted a new Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy for the county. This explains what health and wellbeing priorities the board has set in order to tackle the county’s health needs. Rather than taking action on everything at once, it sets priorities for joint action with the aim of making a real impact on people’s lives.

People living and working across Northumberland are being asked to share their views on future health and care priorities by completing an online survey.  Your feedback  will be gathered and considered to help shape the final Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy which is due to be published later this year. Four enagement events are taking place across the county. The other events are:

  • Thursday 16 August: 2.00pm – 4.30pm, Isabella Community Centre, Ogle Drive, Blyth, Northumberland, NE24 5JF
  • Friday 17 August: 2.00pm – 4.30pm, Hexham Abbey, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 3NB
  • Monday 20 August: 2.00pm – 4.30pm, Northumberland Hall, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1TN


The online survey can be completed here until Friday 7 September.

More details can be found on the council’s website here.

If you would like to attend one of the events or for further information please email: or call 01670 335 185.

The Tree House at The Alnwick Garden

In It Together Spring Conference

In It Together are a group of parents and carers of children and young people with a wide range of disabilities and special needs who come together regularly to informally express our views and opinions on the type of services families need in Northumberland. The group works closely with service providers to develop and maintain accessible, high quality services for all children and young people with additional needs and disabilities, working towards a positive future for all.

In It Together are holding their Annual Conference on Thursday 15th March starting at 10.00am at The Alnwick Garden. It will be open to all parents and carers of children and young people with special education needs and/or disabilities living or educated in Northumberland. For more information email:

stick figure with crates of fruit

Morpeth Market Drop-in

We will be market stall holders on Wednesday 21 February, when we visit Morpeth Market to talk to local people about their health and social care experiences. Good or not so good, praise or concern, we want to hear your thoughts. You can also complete our annual survey which will help us discover what matters to you about the care you and your family receive from GPs, hospitals, dentists, mental health services, pharmacists, care homes and any other service you may use or need to use in the future. Pick up one of our pens, lip balms or stress balls if you’re quick!


Alnwick Infirmary Drop-in Session

Alnwick Infirmary Drop-in Session

We will be at Alnwick Infirmary on Tuesday 6 February, talking to patients and visitors about their views and experiences of health and social care in Alnwick and across Northumberland. You can talk to us about hospitals, GP practices, opticians, pharmacies, dentists, care homes, home care – any health or social care service you or your family has used.

We will be in the restaurant from 10.00am – 12.00pm so call in if you can, have a chat, pick up some information and take away one of our fabulous freebies. Alternatively you can leave feedback on the ‘Have Your Say‘ page of the website.

Berwick Infirmary

Berwick Infirmary Drop-In Session

We will be at Berwick Infirmary on Tuesday 30 January, where patients and visitors can drop by and share their views and experiences of health and social care in Berwick and across Northumberland. You can talk to us about hospitals, GP practices, opticians, pharmacies, dentists, care homes, home care – any health or social care service you have experienced.

We will be near the entrance from 12.00pm – 2.00pm so call in if you can… you may even be lucky enough to take away one of our fab giveaways. Alternatively you can leave feedback on the ‘Have Your Say‘ page of the website.