Our innovative partnership with Citizens Advice Devon is making it easier for people to get the support they need and, in recognition of this success, the team has been shortlisted for an award!

Healthwatch across England listen to people’s views on health and social care services and let those in power know what’s working and what could be improved. Each year, Healthwatch England celebrate the difference this makes to people’s experiences, at the Healthwatch Network Awards.
More than 406,000 people spoke up about the improvements they would like to see to services during the last year. Healthwatch have achieved real change by using these opinions to encourage services to put what people want at the heart of care.
Healthwatch Devon has been selected from over 145 entries to this year’s awards and has been shortlisted in the category – Giving people the advice and information they need.
This award recognises how Healthwatch have helped people make decisions about their health and wellbeing by giving them the advice and information they need.

Background

Devon houses over 1.1m people, making it the fifth largest county in England; it has over 8,000 miles of road – the largest road network in the country – and despite all this has a lower population density than many other parts of England. Put this all together and you might start to ask yourself – how on earth do we reach all these people? Healthwatch Devon found a solution by establishing an innovative partnership with Citizens Advice Devon.

The local advice charity has over 500 volunteers working from more than 30 locations across the county including GP surgeries, village halls and community centres. All the Citizens Advice volunteers are trained to give information and
advice on health and social care matters, and during the last 12 months the team of 8 Healthwatch Champions has responded to more than 2,000 enquiries on health and social care matters, ranging from issues with the quality of care and access to services to the costs of residential care.

Champions are experienced Citizens Advice advisors who specialise in supporting people facing complex health and social care issues. They listen to people’s experience of health and social care and help support them to have their voices heard. Using expert knowledge, they empower clients to move forward in their lives and to address any unresolved issues that they may be facing. In the process they identify emerging issues in health and social care and feed these back to Healthwatch, helping highlight and improve the access to, and experience of, health and social care services across Devon.

All the clients experiences are collected and shared with Healthwatch Devon and inform further surveys and research carried out by Healthwatch Devon, such as Access to Dentistry, the Loneliness report and Enter and View visits. All reports can be found here

Healthwatch Devon send reports monthly, quarterly and tailored to a specific area and share this intelligence with:
+ Devon County Council
+ Healthwatch England
+ NHS England
+ Public Health England
+ NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group
+ Care Quality Commission
+ Local hospital trusts
+ Other key partners and service providers who use this information to make change happen.

Champions helping voices be heard

“We are incredibly proud of our Champions. The information, advice and support they provide helps people in Devon make decisions about their health and wellbeing. They listen to people’s health and social care stories and give them the knowledge and confidence they need to find their way forward.” Janie Moor, Citizens Advice Devon

Case study: Blue badge decision overturned thanks to support from Healthwatch Champion

Edith is in her 80s and lives independently despite having several health issues. She experiences significant but intermittent mobility, breathing and pain problems caused by a combination of an immune system disorder, inflammation of the ribs and arthritis. Edith contacted us in a state of great anxiety. She explained that her most recent application for a Blue Badge parking permit had been declined.

Edith was most distressed about the effect this would have on her ability to lead a ‘normal life’. Without priority parking she felt that the prospect of getting to the shops for her weekly shop was out of reach. She predicted she would become
dependent on friends, family and neighbours and that her independence would be eroded.

Resolution
The Citizens Advice Healthwatch Champion was able to explain the appeals procedure for Blue Badges. The Healthwatch Champion supported Edith through the entire process, helping her provide recent and relevant additional medical
evidence to support her application. In due course the appeal was supported and Edith was awarded a new Blue Badge parking permit. Edith was over the moon, as it mean she would retain her independence and ability to look after herself. She was also extremely pleased to learn that when her current Blue Badge is up for renewal, in three years’ time, she will not need to provide any further supporting evidence with her application.

Congratulations to all Local Healthwatch nominees:
Award categories
Championing diversity and inclusion
This award recognises how Healthwatch have made a difference to the experiences of diverse communities using health and social care services. The shortlisted Healthwatch are:
• Healthwatch Bexley
• Healthwatch East Sussex
• Healthwatch Kent
• Healthwatch Lincolnshire
• Healthwatch Wolverhampton

Giving people the advice and information they need
This award recognises how Healthwatch have helped people make decisions about their health and wellbeing by giving them the advice and information they need. The shortlisted Healthwatch are:
• Healthwatch Devon
• Healthwatch Hillingdon
• Healthwatch Lancashire
• Healthwatch Lewisham
• Healthwatch Liverpool
• Healthwatch Wirral

Helping more people to have their say
This award recognises Healthwatch who have spoken to a significant number of people about their experiences of health and social care or have used creative ways to find out people’s views. The shortlisted Healthwatch are:
• Healthwatch Leeds
• Healthwatch Luton
• Healthwatch Northamptonshire
• Healthwatch Southampton
• Healthwatch Sutton

Improving health and social care
This award recognises Healthwatch who have used people’s views to make tangible improvements to local health and social care services. The shortlisted Healthwatch are:
• Healthwatch Manchester
• Healthwatch North Tyneside
• Healthwatch Suffolk
• Healthwatch Wakefield
• Healthwatch West Berkshire

Outstanding individuals who’ve made a difference
This award recognises a volunteer, individual or group who has worked passionately to improve health and social care services for their community. The shortlisted Healthwatch are:
• Healthwatch Brent
• Healthwatch Bucks
• Healthwatch East Riding of Yorkshire
• Healthwatch Essex
• Healthwatch Surrey

The winner of each category will be chosen by a panel of external judges and announced on Tuesday 1 October 2019.
To read more about our work at Healthwatch Devon please download a copy of our Annual Report 2018/19 here or visit www.healthwatchdevon.co.uk

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