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Healthwatch Somerset’s Annual Report shows how public feedback has improved health and care

by | Jun 30, 2022 | Healthwatch Somerset, Local Healthwatch

Last year (April 2021-March 2022), Healthwatch Somerset supported almost 2,900 people to have their say on health and social care and to get the right information and advice about local services.

In its latest Annual Report, Championing what matters to you, Healthwatch Somerset highlights how it worked throughout the year to understand people’s health and care needs, and to use public feedback to help NHS and social care services improve care in Somerset. The report also outlines work planned for 2022-23.

The year in numbers

  • In total, 2,896 people shared feedback or sought information about health and care services.
  • 1,903 people shared their experiences of local health and social care services.
  • 996 people asked for information, advice, and support on how to get the care they need.
  • 35 volunteers supported Healthwatch Somerset last year, giving up 92 days of their time to make care better for their community.
  • Healthwatch Somerset published five reports about the improvements people would like to see to health and social care services.

Healthwatch Somerset’s reports and how public feedback has made a difference

1. District Nursing Service: Healthwatch Somerset found that most people were very happy with the care they get at home, but they would like the District Nursing Service to offer weekend and evening visits and many people are cautious about digital consultations. Somerset NHS Foundation Trust is using this public feedback to develop their transformation plan for the District Nursing Service.

2. Young people’s health and care services: Young people told Healthwatch Somerset they want more joined up services and better communication. Somerset’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Group are using the insight from this report to inform delivery of the NHS Children and Young People’s Transformation Plan.

3. How are patients affected by waiting for surgery? Healthwatch Somerset’s report alerted the NHS that patients believed their condition deteriorated while waiting for surgery and they want more support and better communication while they wait. The NHS in Somerset is now piloting a scheme offering exercise to patients waiting for joint replacements to help maintain mobility; they now contact people on the waiting list to check on them; and the Trust is creating information materials to support patients on waiting lists.

4. Patient experiences of the NHS 111 service in Somerset and Devon: This report informed the service provider, the Care Quality Commission, the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) and the NHS in Somerset and Devon, of common and continuing areas of concern. Public feedback influenced Devon CCG to recommission the NHS 111 service in their area.

5. Same day urgent care services in West Somerset: Somerset’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Group wanted to find out what local people know about these services and how they think they should be provided and promoted. The Healthwatch Somerset report has gone to Somerset NHS Fit for My Future Board to inform the ongoing review of how NHS urgent care is provided in Somerset.

Announcing the annual report, Judith Goodchild, Chair of the Healthwatch Somerset Board, said: “Despite another challenging year due to COVID, we have covered an extensive programme of work and made sure your views were heard by health and care decision makers to inform positive change in the services you use. Going forward, we are committed to championing better care for everyone, including those who often go unheard. We will continue to work closely with the NHS, local councils, care providers and the voluntary sector, sharing people’s concerns and queries to help improve access to services and quality of care.”

Healthwatch Somerset priorities for 2022-23

  • Reducing the barriers people face when accessing services – particularly around access to face-to-face appointments and digital access.
  • Championing the voices of those who often go unheard – including young people in need of mental health support.
  • Influencing decision makers on a local level as services evolve – including working with Somerset’s new Integrated Care System (ICS) and looking at people’s experiences of being discharged from hospital to intermediate care or back to their own home.

Read the full Healthwatch Somerset Annual Report 2021-22 to find out more about their work during the past year, including findings and recommendations for changes to services.

Find out more about Healthwatch Somerset by signing up for regular news updates.

Share your views and experiences of Somerset’s health and care services.

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