To mark the start of 2019, Healthwatch England have published their annual network priorities list – setting out the key health and care topics local Healthwatch will be working on over the year ahead.
Our priorities in Lambeth are influenced by what we hear from you: at our engagement events, on visits to health and social care providers, and through contact you make with us on the phone, by letter, or on social media.
Over the last year local Healthwatch engaged with over 400,000 people about their experiences of care. You can see what people have told us about services in Lambeth here.
Healthwatch England has analysed 139 of these local plans and compiled a national list of the top issues.
The top five priorities for 2019 are:
The projects undertaken by Healthwatch will build on the day-to-day activities of the network visiting hospital, GPs and care homes etc. and engaging with local people at events and in public spaces to gather their views.
At a national level Healthwatch England will look to use the combined findings to provide insight for decision makers across the NHS, social care sector and Government about the sorts of improvements people want to see.
To achieve this the support of local people is vital. There are over 5,000 volunteers working across the Healthwatch network – their efforts saw an increase of 19% in the number of experiences collected.
We also need more people to come forward and share their experiences and ideas with us, and help us reach our goal of hearing from more than one million people a year from all across England.
Sir Robert Francis, Chair of Healthwatch England, said:
“Taking the time to listen to people’s experiences of care and what they want to see done differently is enlightening and often generates a range of practical solutions that can help services better meet the demands being placed on them.
“This is what we do at Healthwatch. We take the time to listen, and encourage others across health and care to do the same, building vital insight that helps services make the right changes first time.
“As well as GPs, it’s really encouraging to see the needs of young people as a key area of focus. The fact that social care appears in the top five for the third year in row also shows the increasing attention communities want to see placed on creating a system that works for them.
“But we cannot improve things on our own. If anyone has a story they want to share or an idea they think might help, I urge them to make it their New Year’s resolution to get involved and speak to their local Healthwatch.”