Peterborough health body records best ever figures as it seeks more volunteers

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Healthwatch Peterborough has reported its best ever figures, consulting more people than ever before in its role as the ‘independent national champion’ for those who use health and social care services.

Healthwatch England is a statutory body whose sole purpose is to understand the needs, experiences and concerns of people who use health and social care services, and to speak out on their behalf.

The Peterborough branch’s volunteers go out into the community every day to speak with people who actually use the NHS, and who need health and social care.

Through listening to their experiences, Healthwatch Peterborough ensures that those running the healthcare services, the NHS and the government, keep people at the heart of that care. 

The Healthwatch network then works to share the information, expertise and learning in order to improve health and social care services.

Speaking at the group’s monthly meeting, Healthwatch Peterborough CEO Sandie Smith presented its Annual Report: “During 2018/19 the Peterborough team have spoken to 5,115 people at 180 engagement opportunities.

“This is the most people that we’ve ever reached in single year recording their experiences of using public healthcare – and more than a thousand people up on the same period last year.

“Across Cambridgeshire, we recruited 12 new volunteers in 2018/19, with three of them in Peterborough and three in Fenland.

“Currently there are 41 Healthwatch Peterborough and Cambridgeshire volunteers who between them contributed almost 800 hours to the work of the organisation.

“We’re here to make sure that people’s concerns about healthcare services are addressed, and that we all work to get those services right for the future.

“But in order to do that we still need more volunteers – particularly in Peterborough so that we can cover all wards of the city.”

Following the January 2019 publication of its report ‘Finding an NHS Dentist in Peterborough and Wisbech’, significant media coverage raised awareness of Healthwatch Peterborough and what it does in the community.

Chair Val Moore added: “Health and care forums have now been set up and are running in Fenland and Huntingdonshire, and the contract to deliver the County Council Adult Social Care engagement work has been fully delivered.

“Healthwatch Peterborough are now being regularly asked for advice and input regarding patient and public engagement, as well as being invited to contribute the experiences of the public to a range of NHS system-changing forums.

“Members of the Healthwatch Peterborough team, including the CEO, have been pleased to give advice on patient engagement to a number of GP practices as they consider merger and federation as part of the new NHS 10-year plan for Primary Care Networks to be brought in.

“As part of the national network supported by Healthwatch England we have direct links with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) working with their local teams to rate health and care services in our area.

“At the beginning of April 2019, Social Care Organisation locations in Peterborough were given ratings of ‘good’ for 73 of them, ‘outstanding’ for one location, while only six ‘require improvement’.

“The picture regarding GP practices in Peterborough is generally good, though there are pockets of poor performance with some previously rated as ‘require improvement’ slipping briefly into ‘inadequate’ earlier in the year; but this reflects a national annual GP survey showing a general correlation between low satisfaction and the CQC ratings.”

If you are interested in what Healthwatch Peterborough do, or would like to volunteer please contact: enquiries@healthwatchcambspboro.co.uk or visit: www.healthwatchpeterborough.co.uk.