Healthwatch Derbyshire Pilot Programme Launched
Health and social care patient watchdog Healthwatch Derbyshire has teamed up with a leading national charity, MacIntyre, to launch a pilot programme involving local people with learning disabilities taking part in unannounced visits to care homes across the county.
MacIntyre provides learning, support and care for more than 1,500 children, young people and adults who have a learning disability and/or autism, at more than 150 services across England and Wales.
The pilot project will involve MacIntyre’s Reps on Board programme in Derbyshire, which is a learning and development project that trains and develops local people with a learning disability to be good peer advocates in their local communities.
A specially-designed training programme will be held over the coming months to enable the Reps to join other Healthwatch Derbyshire volunteers from this March in carrying out regular Enter and View visits to health and social care services in Derbyshire.
Together, they will collect the views of service users and highlight both good practice and any issues for service improvement.
The MacIntyre Reps on Board includes Stephen Wibberley (51) from Long Eaton (pictured front second right). He said: “It is important for everyone to have their say on how services are provided and we will be able to help other people with a learning disability to have a voice.
“I have enjoyed the training and am looking forward to the Enter & View visits with Healthwatch Derbyshire.”
Alison Wright, Training and Development Coordinator for MacIntyre Reps on Board, explained: "The Reps on Board project has operated for nine years now to ensure that people with a learning disability are included in looking at the way learning disability services are run in Derbyshire.
“Involving Reps with the Healthwatch Derbyshire Enter and View programme is a perfect opportunity for people with a learning disability to further the impact they have on influencing the way health and social care services across Derbyshire are delivered.
“The Reps are therefore a good point of reference for anyone who provides a service used by people with a learning disability in Derbyshire.
“Our team will be making the Enter and View materials easy to read for the Reps, to go alongside the specialist training designed by Healthwatch Derbyshire, enabling them to work as independently as possible.”
Healthwatch Derbyshire is the independent organisation representing the views of the Derbyshire public on health and social care services.
Healthwatch Derbyshire Chief Executive Karen Ritchie explained: “An Enter and View visit is not an inspection but is complementary to the quality and safety monitoring work undertaken by the Care Quality Commission and Derbyshire County Council.
“Enter and View visits focus on a lay person’s perspective of the care and treatment that residents receive, to ensure that residents are treated with dignity and respect. We concentrate on the service user’s perspective, and their engagement in the care they receive.
“It is recognised that service users feel comfortable with lay people and trust them because of their independence.
“Our visits and subsequent published reports therefore give a voice to service users, patients and members of the public, so they can speak up about their experiences of care, both good and bad.
“We are delighted to be working with MacIntyre who obviously have a greater insight into the specific needs and challenges faced by patients and residents with their own learning disabilities and can therefore give additional support to the information gathering and reporting process that we have in place.”
Healthwatch Derbyshire currently has a group of 16 trained volunteers who carry out Enter and View visits and are expanding the service with training sessions organised throughout the year. The next training programme is being planned for Spring 2017.
For more information about the different ways to get involved with Healthwatch Derbyshire, please visit www.healthwatchderbyshire.co.uk or telephone 01773 880786.