Christmas 2018

Christmas 2018

We’re almost at the end of another busy year, where we’ve spoken to people from all corners of the county and received hundreds of pieces of feedback from those who use NHS services and social care. We have recently finished a three week stint talking to people in the Emergency Department at The Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, and will be sharing our findings in the new year. Please note that our offices will be closed from 3.30pm on Friday 21 December, re-opening at 9.00am on Wednesday 2 January, 2019. Thank you for your support, and a Merry Christmas from all the team here at Healthwatch Northumberland.

Healthwatch Northumberland

AGM 2018

Our AGM on 16 October was well attended with almost 100 people at the event. Our thanks go to everyone who came along, as an individual, health professional or with an information stand, with special thanks to guest speaker Stephen Blackman from North of Tyne Local Pharmaceutical Committee The minutes will be available really soon on the ‘News’ and ‘Our Work’ pages of the website.

Attendees of Healthwatch England Conference 2018

Healthwatch Conference

Project Coordinator Derry Nugent attended this year’s Healthwatch Annual Conference in Stratford, along with board members Margaret Young and Kelvin Rushworth. The event is a chance for local Healthwatch staff from across England to come together, share ideas and recognise the achievements that have been made during the year. See if you can spot them on this group photograph!

Healthwatch Northumberland Board Member

Harry joins the Team

We welcome new board member Harry Wilson to the Healthwatch Northumberland team this month. He is currently Chairman of Glendale Practice Patient Participation Group, and you will be able to meet him at our AGM in Newbiggin in October.

People holding 'speak up' messages

Date for your diary – Healthwatch Northumberland AGM 2018

Our AGM is on Tuesday 16 October at Newbiggin Sports & Community Centre, starting at 10am. This is your chance to hear about our  work over the past year, what you’ve told us and how we’ve made a difference in the community. Our guest speaker is Stephen Blackman, Chief Officer of North of Tyne Local Pharmaceutical Committee. Information stands from local health and support groups and organisations will be at the event for you to chat to and find out more. There might even be a giveaway or two! Lunch and refreshments will be provided for all guests. Register here.

team in polo tops

Team polo tops are here!

We’re very pleased with our new team polo tops, which can probably be seen from space in all honesty! But hopefully they will help us get noticed when we’re out and about listening to people about their care experiences.

sign up for updates

Please help us spread the word

With the new General Data Protection Regulations coming into effect in May, we, like many organisations, lost a significant amount of contacts from our newsletter/supporters list. Please help us get the numbers back up, so we can share the work we do, local health news and events with more people. You can join our mailing list here.

Adapt (NE) retains Healthwatch Northumberland Contract

We are pleased to report that Adapt (NE) has retained the contract to deliver Healthwatch Northumberland for another three years, so our contact details haven’t changed. Please get in touch via our contact page.

Healthwatch Anniversary

Healthwatch is five years old…!

Healthwatch across England turns on 1st April! That’s five years we’ve been listening to people in Northumberland about their experiences of health and social care.

Give us your feedback about local care, good or bad, and what matters to you via our website, on the phone or by filling in one of our freepost feedback cards. Every comment counts.

Farewell to Kirsten Francis

We would like to wish board member Kirsten Francis of Northumberland County Council good luck as she leaves for new ventures. Kirsten has been part of the Healthwatch Northumberland board since its inception in 2013. We welcome two new independent board members, Kelvin Rushworth and Hayley Brown, we will bring you more information on them and their roles soon.

Derry at Koast radio

Koast Radio

Derry was invited along to Koast Radio earlier this month to talk about the role of Healthwatch and how people can give feedback and be involved in decisions which affect them. We’ve been invited back in the future so hopefully we can make regular broadcasts.We think she was a natural!

snowman family

Adverse Weather – stay in touch

Like a lot of people our staff are struggling to get the office in the bad weather this week, so our telephones may be unmanned at times. You can contact us through our Facebook and Twitter pages if you need a response quickly, and can leave feedback via the website as usual. We hope everyone is able to stay safe and warm through the worst of the weather. Some hints and tips for keeping healthy during the winter can be found at the NHS Choices website.

Healthwatch Stall in Morpeth

Marketplace Debut

Our market stall debut was made at Morpeth Marketplace this month. On a glorious sunny day we set up a Healthwatch Northumberland stall so that we could listen to local people’s stories and experiences of the health and social care services used by themselves and their families, and what matters to them about these services. We had plenty of our pens, stressballs and lip balms to give away to those who left feedback or completed one of our annual surveys. Look out for us at a market near you soon!

Speak Up

Speak Up! with our annual survey

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.

Please respond by 28 February 2018. Thank you!


New Golden Guides for 2018

Heather from the Golden Guide delivered some of the new 2018 editions to our office this week. The guide aims to help older people enjoy life by discovering the broad range of opportunities, services and facilities in their local area.

It’s a great way to find activities, clubs and classes where you can socialise and have fun plus and there’s lots of information and advice about volunteering, learning a new skill and support for older 50s locally.

Interview with Hexhamtv

Hexhamtv interviews Project Coordinator Derry Nugent

With the announcement that some planned hospital operations are being delayed this month, both nationally and locally, Hexhamtv invited Derry to talk about the situation in the county and how you can feed back your experience good or bad, if you or those you care for are affected in any way by these circumstances.

Click here to view the interview.

Promotional Literature

Look out for our new posters and leaflets

We have some new leaflets, posters and wallet sized information cards which the team are ready to distribute across the county over the next few weeks. The materials are eye catching and informative and we hope they will help us reach people across Northumberland and raise awareness of what we do. We will drop information at as many venues as we can possibly get to, however if you would like some for your organisation or can help with distribution please get in touch.

Healthwatch Christmas Penguins

Christmas and New Year

As we come to the end of a busy 2017 we’d like to thank you for your support of Healthwatch Northumberland. The AGM saw a record number of people attend and we’ve had some positive and constructive feedback on how we can make it an even better event next year. Thanks also go to those who came to the recent Great North Care Record meetings and contributed to some lively and thought provoking discussion. Our website, new this spring, has also received positive comments, particularly the ‘find services’ section where you can find a directory of local organisations and support groups. The site is continually changing so do get in touch with any suggestions. We have lots of projects underway right now which will continue into the new year, including mapping children and young people’s pathways to mental health services; more details to follow. Our office will close on Friday 22 December and re-open on Tuesday 2 January 2018. The  team would like to wish you all a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year.

Hate Crime Event

Hate Crime Event in Hexham

Anne was at the Northumbria Police Hate Crime event in Hexham this week. Held at the Abbey, the event saw an array of local organisations come together to showcase the support available on offer to the community, with the emphasis on hate crime and how we can work together to support, educate and liaise with one another.

A hate crime can include being called names, hassled or threatened, being beaten up, kicked or attacked, people swearing at you and making abusive remarks, people doing things to frighten, intimidate, or scare you, bullying at school, work or college, damage to your property or car or having things stolen, spitting or making insulting gestures.

SEND Roadshow

SEND Roadshows

We’ve been at the In It Together and Northumberland County Council SEND roadshows this month which were held across the county at Ashington, Alnwick and Hexham. There was an enormous range of services and organisations present, a great opportunity for families with special educational needs and disabilities to find out what support is on offer. We’re looking forward to next year!

Prudhoe Play Day

Prudhoe Play Day

The engagement team, Tania, Heather (pictured) and Anne, had a stand at this year’s Prudhoe Play Day, organised annually by children’s services. This year we had colouring and dressing up activities, free fruit and squidgy balls, plus some health related questions and dilemmas for parents.

A great day was had by all, until unfortunately rain stopped play. We’re already looking forward to next year!

Healthwatch Conference

Healthwatch Annual Conference 2017

Anne, Carole and Colin attended this year’s annual conference in Nottingham, giving the 152 local Healthwatch teams in England the chance meet, share and learn from each other. Our team attended workshops on things such as measuring impact, engaging with young people and mental health issues. The Healthwatch Network Awards ceremony took place in the evening, recognising the ways in which Healthwatch across the country have helped make people’s views of health and social care services heard over the last 12 months.

Northumberland CVA Volunteer Fair

Engagement staff Tania and Anne were at the Northumberland CVA volunteer fair in Ashington last week, which was a chance for people to see what opportunties there are for volunteering across the county. We spoke to lots of you about the what Healthwatch Northumberland do and were able to ‘signpost’ lots of people on to services such as Northumberland Independent Advocacy Service and Adapt NE Transport.

Out and About

We met lots of lovely people and listened to some informative and inspirational speakers at both the Northumberland Cancer Patient and Carer Group’s Annual Conference in March and the Ageing Well in Northumberland Conference in April.  The Stepping into Spring event in Ashington was a fantastic showcase of activities and support for older people in the county, with events also happening in Bedlington and Wooler.

For more details of events where you can come and have a chat to us, plus other activities and events happening in your area, visit our ‘events‘ page.

Staff Team

We are really pleased to welcome David Thompson as the new Healthwatch Board Chair along with some new independent board members. We have recently been recruiting for a Vice Chair; the deadline for applications was Wednesday 24th May, and we’ll keep you updated as the process continues.

Derry Nugent took on the role of Project Coordinator in April and has been instrumental in recruiting some new engagement staff members. Meet everyone on the ‘our team’ page.

Annual Survey

Thank you to everyone who completed our annual survey earlier in the year. We had a better response than ever before and very much appreciate you taking the time to share your views with us. We will be bringing you updates on the outcomes and priorities really soon, but it’s encouraging to note that over 90% of services used were rated either okay, good or excellent. More to follow.


Welcome to our new website, which we hope is user friendly and easy to navigate. We have a new and improved ‘your health‘ section which gives comprehensive signposting advice about many health issues, plus for the first time we will be bringing you some exciting blog posts from staff, board members and lots of other interesting people! Please let us know if you spot anything we can improve or add.