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Join 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. 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 between 3.00pm and 4.00pm 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.

 

Online Forums

Wednesday 20 May 2.00pm – 3.00pm: Dementia Services

Wednesday 27 May 2.00pm – 3.00pm: Adult Social Services (to include support to live independently, care homes, learning disability services)

Wednesday 3 June 2.00pm- 3.00pm: Mental Health Services

Wednesday 10 June 2.00pm – 3.00pm: Special Eduction Needs and Disabilities

Wednesday 17 June 2.00pm – 3.00pm: Maternity services

If you would like to take part please email contact Lesley Tweddell, lesleyt@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 07803 427 466.

NHS Volunteer Responders

Registration for NHS Volunteer Responders is temporarily paused to enable over 750,000 applications to be processed and get the volunteer army up and running.  

NHS Volunteer Responders is a new group that will carry out simple, non-medical tasks to support people in England who are self-isolating because of specific health conditions. They will be used by healthcare professionals to make sure people who are highly vulnerable to coronavirus are able to stay safe and well at home.

NHS Volunteer Responders will support with simple but vital tasks including driving people to and from hospital, delivering food and medication, and telephone befriending. Volunteers will also support the NHS to transport equipment and supplies.

Volunteers have been recruited for four key roles; the support you request will need to match these roles in order to ensure the volunteer has received appropriate guidance and checks:

Community Response Volunteer: This role involves collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating/vulnerable, and delivering these supplies to their home.

Patient Transport Volunteer: This role supports the NHS by providing transport to patients who are medically fit for discharge, as well as taking patients to their essential appointments.

NHS Transport Volunteer: This role involves transporting equipment, supplies and/or medication between NHS services and sites, it may also involve assisting pharmacies with medication delivery.

Check in and Chat Volunteer: This role provides short-term telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness as a consequence of self-isolation.

NHS Volunteer Responders are not intended to replace local groups helping their vulnerable neighbours but is an additional service provided by the NHS.

Call 0808 196 3382 or visit the website

Ambulance Service launches Video Technology

Patients will soon be able to speak to ambulance service clinicians via video thanks to new technology being introduced by North East Ambulance Service (NEAS).

NEAS is making use of Attend Anywhere software to allow ambulance staff working in the community to seek advice from clinicians working within the Emergency Operations Centre via video link. This will also be used to speak to patients who require advice but may not need an ambulance to attend to them. Building on this, the service will then be expanded to the wider health system, including care homes.

The new system is one of 17 projects which NEAS has been working on since being chosen as one of three ambulance services to join the national Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) programme back in 2018.

Video conferencing will be rolled out at NEAS in the following ways:

Clinical advice for staff – newly qualified paramedics will be able to use the facilities to speak to specialist paramedics for clinical advice and reassurance whilst on scene with a patient who they think can be safely left at home without needing to travel to hospital. This support was previously carried out as a telephone conversation, relying heavily on vocal descriptions; using video instead will allow staff to use visual cues in their clinical decision making.

Patient support – after going through the triage system on either NHS111 or 999, patients who need to speak to a clinician may be given a secure link via text message or email, which will take them through to a video call on their smart phone, computer or tablet.

Specialist support – the system also has the potential to be used by other specialists, such as the NEAS Hazardous Area Response Team and Great North Air Ambulance, to see whether their services are required on scene, ensuring their specialist skills are reserved for patients who need them most.

Paul Aitken-Fell, lead consultant paramedic at NEAS, said “As the regional ambulance service, NEAS forms a critical part of the care process, bridging primary, secondary and acute care. We only touch patients for a short period of time, with little knowledge of their medical history but often in their most desperate times of need. It is therefore vital that we ensure we are informed as much as possible when we are needed.

“The initiatives we are pursuing through this programme, such as video consultation, are helping us to make better use of technology to improve the care and treatment decisions our clinicians make for our patients.

“In light of the current coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever that we are able to offer ways of being able to keep patients safely at home and reduce unnecessary ambulance attendances and referrals to hospital and other providers.

“One of the hardest jobs for a clinician working within our Emergency Operations Centre is the inability to see a patient and therefore having to rely on what they are being told over the phone. This inevitably means that they sometimes have no choice but to dispatch an ambulance just to get a pair of eyes on a patient and make sure they’re ok.

“The ability to see patients face to face via video consultations therefore means we can potentially reduce ambulance callouts, freeing up our clinicians to see more patients. We believe it may also mean we see a reduction in referrals to other providers, thereby freeing up appointments in the wider system and reducing the wait for people who need those physical appointments. And, for our newly qualified paramedics, it means they will have improved access to clinical support to help them deliver high quality care for every contact whilst also reducing unnecessary hospital admissions.”

The aim of the GDE programme is to join up and digitalise health systems to provide clinicians with more timely access to accurate information and support service change, thereby improving patient care.

NEAS was chosen to join the GDE programme in recognition of its track record of digital delivery, which included being the first ambulance trust to deliver NHS111 services, being the first ambulance trust to roll out airwave radio and communications system service wide and being the first NHS111 provider to deliver region wide electronic GP bookings.

Other projects which have either been completed or are in the process of being implemented as part of the GDE programme, include:

  • Developing a common message to allow ambulance systems to digitally pass patient information to hospital systems supporting the transfer of care process;
  • Creating a central directory which provides NHS providers with real time information about services available to support a patient;
  • Capturing a patient’s NHS number as part of their 999 call, without delaying treatment to the patient, to provide clinicians with access to additional information relating to the patient’s previous symptoms and treatments and to transfer information to other services, such as GPs following an ambulance call-out;
  • Developing simulation software to identify the impact of system changes, both internally and externally, to ensure resources match the needs of the service;
  • Developing a messaging and collaboration platform for informing ambulance staff about their compliance with best practice and informing them of changes;
  • Introducing barcode tracking to better manage medicine and stocks on vehicles.

Coronavirus Information

Coronavirus Information Northumberland

As the coronavirus situation is changing constantly in the UK, we are directing you to the main sources of the latest information and advice.

Our team is working from home as of 23 March but we are still here for you and replying to all emails and calls – please bear with us if it takes us a little longer to get back to you.

The main symptoms of coronavirus are: a cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath. If you have any of these symptoms you should stay at home and self isolate.

 

You can find the latest information on our Coronavirus Page HERE

 

Public invited to have say on plans for new Berwick hospital

Update 22 April 2020: 

The deadline for residents to look at and comment on proposals for the new Berwick hospital has been extended to 5.00pm on Monday 27 April. Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has extended the consultation to give people as much opportunity as possible to see them before the planning application is submitted.

 

People in Berwick are being given another opportunity to see plans for a new £25million hospital in the town.

Following community engagement last month, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is inviting the public to view the proposals on a new website – www.berwickcommunityhospital.co.uk – before the planning application is submitted. The trust had intended to hold a drop-in session in the town, however, this is now not possible due to the current government restrictions.

On the website, people will be able to look at the plans for the new development on the existing Berwick Infirmary site and make comments before the consultation closes at 5.00pm on Monday 20 April 2020. People without access to the internet can telephone 0191 261 5685. The hoardings around the area where the new hospital is set to be built are being erected and the winning images from the trust’s photography competition will go on display in due course.

Marion Dickson, executive director for nursing, midwifery, allied health professionals, surgery and community services at Northumbria Healthcare, is leading the Berwick redevelopment project.

She said “Whilst dealing with the evolving coronavirus situation must be the trust’s top priority, building our new Berwick hospital remains an important project for us and we’re very keen to keep it on track.

“Circumstances have meant that we’ve had to change the way we’re carrying out the next stage of the process with an online consultation rather than a drop-in session for the public. However, please be assured that people will have the same amount of information and a telephone number is available if residents have difficulty accessing the internet.

“We were very pleased to see so many people at our drop-in sessions at the Town Hall last month and that the response we had was hugely positive. We fully appreciate that these are unsettling times however we’d urge people to log on, if they’d like to, and view the updated plans and let us know their views.”

The new hospital will re-provide all the existing services and embrace the latest technology. It is planned that Well Close Medical Group will be part of the new development which will pave the way for further integration between primary care (the GPs) and secondary care (the hospital).

The resurfacing of the car park next to maternity is complete and next to the minor injuries unit is now the only way to access the hospital, as the number of entrances have been reduced across the trust to help further reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Marion added “These are extremely challenging times for everyone working in the NHS. I would like to say thank you and express how very proud I am of our Northumbria family for the passion and dedication our staff are showing every single day to care for our patients.”

Call-out for people to lend a hand for the NHS

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is appealing to people who could provide an extra pair of helping hands in these unprecedented times to come forward.

As nationally the NHS looks for volunteers, the trust, which has a hugely-valued volunteer service, is calling on those fit and able between the ages of 16 and 68 to support staff working in hospitals and in the community across Northumberland and North Tyneside to get in touch.

Recognised nationally for the quality of its volunteering programmes, Northumbria, like many NHS organisations, has seen numbers dwindle due to the national guidelines to protect over 70s and those with underlying health conditions.

People do not need medical or care experience, just a commitment to help the NHS cope with the increase in demand as a result of coronavirus.

On a busy ward this could include helping to change beds, making a cuppa, chatting to patients or running errands to help staff speed up processes. Within the community, this could mean linking with other groups to support community health services or those who are socially isolated.

Volunteers would not be asked to carry out the duties of paid staff.

Sir James Mackey, Chief Executive of Northumbria Healthcare said “Quite simply, the NHS here in Northumberland and North Tyneside needs your help. We greatly value the contribution of our hundreds of volunteers and the support they provide to our patients and staff in our hospitals and in the community.

“Sadly, many of our current volunteers have been asked to stand down due to the national guidance. This is absolutely the right thing to do to protect them and their families and, already, we are deeply missing them. As we prepare for more and more patients to need our help, the time is now for us to ask the general public to come forward to support us at this incredibly busy time.

“Please be assured that we only be asking people to provide an extra pair of helping hands which will make a massive difference to our patients and staff during this difficult period.”

People volunteering their time at Northumbria Healthcare must:

  • Be aged between 16 and 68
  • Be fit and well with no underlying health conditions or live, or care for, anyone who does
  • Be subject to checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
  • Not have symptoms of a high temperature and/or persistent cough

Northumbria Healthcare already works in partnership with Helpforce to ensure volunteering is an integral part of healthcare and makes a positive difference for patients, volunteers and NHS staff.

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, founder of Helpforce, said “As we face unprecedented changes to our way of life, we are working hard with Northumbria Healthcare and our colleagues across our health and care services by looking at practical ways volunteers can help take the strain off frontline services.

“Keeping you and your loved ones safe is an absolute priority, but we must not forget those alone and at higher risk. Please be confident that we are dedicated to doing more and helping our partners to do the same.”

To volunteer or for more information, contact volunteers@northumbria-healthcare.nhs.uk, 0191 203 1511 or 07768 570178.

Changes to how we operate

We are following government advice and guidelines in light of the coronavirus outbreak and have made changes to the way we operate. We have postponed all of the community events we had planned and from Monday 23 March our staff will be mainly working from home. We are still very much open for business, so if you want to give us feedback on a service you’ve used, or if you are looking for information on local health or support for a particular issue, you can call our signposting service. Get in touch on 03332 408468 or email info@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk.

Our board meeting scheduled for 24 March will not physically take place, but our board members are very much working away in the background and discussing future plans for Healthwatch Northumberland.

We will keep you updated with our plans on our website, Facebook and Twitter pages as things develop nationally.

Latest NHS coronavirus guidance

Share your views on NHS Interpreting Services

The interpreting arrangements in primary care from NHS England end on 30 September 2020 and it is asking for your views on what has worked well and what could be improved. Your feedback will be used to shape how these services will be delivered in the future.

There are two sessions. One for patients who have used a spoken word interpreter at their GP, dentist, pharmacy or optometrist since April 2018 and one is for people who have used a non-spoken word interpreter at one or more of these services. The sessions are also for those who haven’t used an interpreter in this time but may need to use one at an appointment in the future.

 

Patient Listening Event – Spoken Word Interpretation

Wednesday 25 March: 6.00pm – 9.00pm

Cathedral Suite, Emirates Riverside Stadium, County Durham DH3 3QR

 

Patient Listening Event – Non-spoken Word Interpretation

Thursday 26 March: 6.00pm – 9.00pm

Cathedral Suite, Emirates Riverside Stadium, County Durham DH3 3QR

 

 

What will the format of the session be?

An NHS England representative will give a short presentation on the planned changes to interpreting services in 2020/21. Attendees will then be asked to work in small groups to discuss and note down their personal experiences of interpreting services in primary care. Feedback will be used to answer the questions:

What has worked well?

What needs to be improved?

What are the things which matter to you most when using interpreters?

 

Tea, coffee and snacks will be provided. There are 100 places on each session and you can book on by emailing: englandphadminwf4@nhs.net with your name, the area you live and the number of places you would like to reserve (up to six). Please use either ‘patient listening event – spoken’ or ‘patient listening event – non-spoken’ as the email subject.

 

View plans for Berwick Hospital

The public are being given the opportunity to view plans for the newhospital in Berwick on Wednesday 11 March. Northumbria Healthcare released this message this week:

 

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is sharing its proposals at drop-in sessions, hosted by Berwick Regeneration Commission, at the Town Hall from 11.00am – 4.00pm and 5.00pm – 7.00pm.

Staff from the trust will be on hand to showcase the architect’s proposals for the development on the existing Berwick Infirmary site before a formal planning application is submitted to Northumberland County Council. Teams at the infirmary have had a major input into the design of the new state-of-the-art hospital to ensure that it supports an improved experience for patients and is fit for the future.

The new hospital will re-provide all the existing services and embrace the latest technology. It is planned that Well Close Medical Group will be part of the development which will pave the way for further integration between primary care (the GPs) and secondary care (the hospital). Patients from the practice are also welcome to come along to the sessions to give their thoughts on the proposed relocation of the surgery.

Marion Dickson, executive director for nursing, midwifery, allied health professionals, surgery and community services at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, is leading the Berwick redevelopment project. She said “We know that local people are very keen to see our plans for the new Berwick hospital and we are pleased to be able to confirm the date for our drop-in sessions. We hope that as many people as possible, including patients of Well Close Medical Group, will take this opportunity to come along and have a first glimpse of the proposals before we submit our planning application.”

Preparations are already well underway for the new build on the northern end of the existing infirmary site with departments moved to elsewhere on the site, and the car park next to the maternity unit is being resurfaced over the next two weeks. Pedestrian access to the maternity and physiotherapy departments will be maintained via the High Greens Road entrance however parking at the main hospital is available as usual during this work.

In the meantime, the trust is reminding patients with an appointment at Berwick Infirmary to attend as normal, however, report to the reception within medical records to be redirected to their waiting area.

Subject to planning approval, construction will start on site in the autumn with an expected completion date for the new hospital of spring 2022.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick, said “The new hospital in Berwick will be a massive boost to the town and surrounding areas and is hugely anticipated by the local community. I’m delighted that the public is being given the opportunity next month to see the plans and would encourage residents to go along to the drop-in sessions at the Town Hall.”

Riverside Surgery

Community urged to have say on proposed Riversdale Surgery relocation

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Primary Care Commissioning Committee met in public on 12 February, to discuss the proposed relocation of Riversdale Surgery in Wylam to its branch site in the Oakland’s Health Centre in Prudhoe.

The practice submitted a formal application to the committee who heard the details of the proposal. The move would allow the practice to operate from a modern, fit for purpose primary care centre and enable clinical and community services to run from one central location.

As part of their application to relocate, the practice also shared with the committee the feedback from their patient and public engagement which raised concerns over the withdrawal of services in Wylam, difficulties with transport and accessibility.

The CCG noted these concerns and has agreed to undertake further engagement to hear the views of the local community and assess the impact of the proposed relocation.

Two drop in sessions have been arranged at St Oswin’s Church Hall, Wylam as follows:

  • Wednesday 19 February, 3.00pm – 5.00pm, St Oswin’s Church, Wylam
  • Monday 24 February, 1.00pm – 3.00pm St Oswin’s Church, Wylam
  • Thursday 27 February, 5.00pm – 7.00pm, Wylam Library

Responses from the community, together with the engagement report we produced in 2018 will be used to understand how the practice can address any concerns.

Further information on the next steps will be provided as soon as they are available.

 

Events

Maternity services: Join our online forum

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. If you are unable to take part but would like to tell us about your experiences of these services, Caroline and Lesley will be available by phone, text and email each Wednesday between 3.00pm and 4.00pm 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.

The subject of this online forum is maternity services, so if you’d like to share your experiences of services in the last 12 months, or those of someone close to you, please join us.

If you would like to take part please contact Lesley Tweddell, lesleyt@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or 07803 427 466.

 

Find out about our other online forums

 

SEND: Join our online forum

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. If you are unable to take part but would like to tell us about your experiences of these services, Caroline and Lesley will be available by phone, text and email each Wednesday between 3.00pm and 4.00pm 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.

The subject of this online forum is special educational needs and disabilities, so if you’d like to share your experiences of services in the last 12 months, or those of someone close to you, please join us.

If you would like to take part please contact Lesley Tweddell, lesleyt@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or 07803 427 466.

 

Find out about our other online forums

 

Mental Health services: Join our online forum

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. If you are unable to take part but would like to tell us about your experiences of these services, Caroline and Lesley will be available by phone, text and email each Wednesday between 3.00pm and 4.00pm 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.

The subject of this online forum is mental health services, so if you’d like to share your experiences of services in the last 12 months, or those of someone close to you, please join us.

If you would like to take part please contact Lesley Tweddell, lesleyt@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or 07803 427 466.

 

Other online forums:

Wednesday 20 May 2.00pm – 3.00pm: Dementia Services.

Wednesday 27 May 2.00 – 3.00pm: Adult Social Services (to include support to live independently, care homes, learning disability services).

 

Adult Social Care: Join our online forum

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. If you are unable to take part but would like to tell us about your experiences of these services, Caroline and Lesley will be available by phone, text and email each Wednesday between 3.00pm and 4.00pm 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.

The subject of this online forum is adult social care services (including support to live independently, care homes, learning disability services), so if you’d like to share your experiences of services in the last 12 months, or those of someone close to you, please join us.

If you would like to take part please contact Lesley Tweddell, lesleyt@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or 07803 427 466.

 

Other forums:

Wednesday 20 May 2.00 – 3.00pm: Dementia Services.

Wednesday 3 June 2.00 – 3.00pm: Mental Health Services.

Dementia services: Join our online forum

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. If you are unable to take part but would like to tell us about your experiences of these services, Caroline and Lesley will be available by phone, text and email each Wednesday between 3.00pm and 4.00pm 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.

The subject of this online forum is dementia services, so if you’d like to share your experiences of services in the last 12 months, or those of someone close to you, please join us.

If you would like to take part please contact Lesley Tweddell, lesleyt@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or 07803 427 466.

 

Coming soon:

Wednesday 27 May 2.00 – 3.00pm: Adult Social Services (to include support to live independently, care homes, learning disability services).

Wednesday 3 June 2.00 – 3.00pm: Mental Health Services.

Making Every Contact Count

Making Every Contact Count is an approach that uses the millions of day to day interactions that organisations and people have with other people to support them in making positive changes to their physical and mental health and well being.

Making changes such as stopping smoking, improving diet, increasing physical activity, losing weight and reducing alcohol consumption can help people to reduce their risk of poor health significantly.

The voluntary and community sector has many contacts every day with individuals and is ideally placed to engage the population in healthy conversations.  It is not easy for everyone to raise questions about lifestyle behaviours.  It requires a range of skills and knowledge to gain confidence to support and direct people. Training is being provided specifically for the voluntary and community sector by Northumbria Healthcare.

Arranged in partnership with Northumberland CVA, this training is aimed at those who work with the public and wish to understand how they can talk to people about health, wellbeing and healthy lifestyle choices.  It is a free course for voluntary and community sector staff and volunteers.

The course will provide you with an understanding of health promotion and public health and enable you to identify opportunities to promote healthy messages/ brief advice.  You will also gain knowledge and understanding of tools and skills that can be used to engage people about their health and well being and signposting opportunities. Please register here.

 

Listening Event: Annual Survey Blyth Sports Centre

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home. You can feed back as a patient or carer.

By telling us about the care you received you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what’s important to you, what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Blyth Library

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home. You can feed back as a patient or carer.

By telling us about the care you received you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what’s important to you, what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Hexham Hospital

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Morpeth Riverside

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the NHS, health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.