Celebrating ten years of people speaking up to improve local services

Health and social care champions, Healthwatch Derbyshire marks 10th anniversary by highlighting difference the public have made to improve NHS and social care services. 


Healthwatch Derbyshire, the county’s health and social care watchdog, is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a plea to the public to continue having their say about services that affect their lives.


In 2013, Healthwatch Derbyshire was launched with one simple aim, to make sure NHS leaders and other decision-makers hear the care experiences of people in Derbyshire and use your feedback to improve support. The organisation also helps people to find reliable and trustworthy information and advice.


Over the past decade, thousands of people in Derbyshire have shared their views and experiences of health and social care services, good and bad, with Healthwatch.


This has enabled the organisation to feedback to those who commission and deliver services to action improvements.


Last year alone, the Healthwatch network across the UK supported more than two million people to have their say on care and get the right advice. 


Patient feedback can enable the NHS to spot issues and identify where services may need more resource or other support. It can also help address inequalities in access to care, the extent of which has been laid bare by the pandemic.


Local examples include:

  • Following calls about there being a lack of NHS dentists in Derbyshire, Healthwatch Derbyshire has continued conversations with dental commissioners and decision makers to try to improve the situation and to action change to the NHS ‘Find a Dentist’ website. Volunteers continue to help the organisation keep track of how many dentists are accepting patients in each area.
  • Healthwatch Derbyshire research looking into how people access their GP surgery since the pandemic helped the organisation to find out what was working for patients and improvement needed which has been shared with providers.
  • Public feedback helped highlight the negative impact poor NHS admin can have and recommended five principles for services to improve people's experiences.
  • After Healthwatch and other organisations called for an urgent response to hospital waiting lists, and better interim communication and support, the NHS set out a recovery plan to address the backlog.
  • Healthwatch uncovered that only a third of NHS Trusts fully comply with their duty to help patients with sensory impairments and learning disabilities, which has helped lead to a national review of the Accessible Information Standard.


With NHS and social care services under pressure, Healthwatch is calling on more people to tell the NHS when they are doing a good job and when services can be improved.


Helen Henderson, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Derbyshire said: "Over the past ten years, we've been able to help improve health and social care services for people in Derbyshire.


“The reality is that nothing would have changed if local people had not spoken up about their care and services had not listened. So thank you to everyone who has played their part.


"However, we can't stop here. With NHS and social care services facing such big challenges, the public’s feedback is more critical than ever.


“By sharing your experience, you can help professionals to put themselves in your shoes, to understand your reality and the issues that need tackling to improve care.


"So next time you use a health or care service, take a moment to share your experience. It won't take long and could make a real difference in making care better for you and your community."


Be a Healthwatch Hero and have your say today.  Please visit https://healthwatchderbyshire.co.uk/ or call 01773 880786.

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