The Care Forum specialises in making health and care better across the South West. One of the ways that we do this is by supporting people to share their views and experiences of local services through Healthwatch – the independent consumer watchdog for health and care.
We were disappointed to be told that our bid to deliver the new Healthwatch service across BNSSG was not successful, and we are awaiting further detail on the process which has resulted in this decision. Our track record of high-quality delivery has raised the profile of Healthwatch in our part of the South West, and we had hoped to be able to continue delivering on behalf of local people for another 5 years.
We have hosted Healthwatch in Bristol and South Gloucestershire since it began in 2013. The projects are led by a knowledgeable group of volunteers, who have made a real difference to local services on behalf of residents– for example, by making sure that Southmead Hospital took into account the mobility needs of people using it as the site was upgraded over time. Over the years our work has been both locally recognised and nominated for a number of national awards.
- In 2018, we were runners-up in the Healthwatch England awards for work we did with The Hive to empower South Gloucestershire residents with a learning disability to visit and make recommendations for improvements to local services: https://healthwatchsouthglos.co.uk/news/hivewatch-enter-and-view-video/
- In the same year, our work in Bristol with The Friends of Caswell Thompson to raise awareness of prostate cancer among black, Asian and minority ethnic men resulted in at least 6 local men (that we know of) reporting that they went to be screened, were diagnosed with cancer early and were able to be treated with fewer complications as a result. This work was also nationally recognised by Healthwatch England: https://www.healthwatch.co.uk/news/2018-06-25/speaking-saves-lives-bristol
Healthwatch is a vital safety net for local people. It is designed to make sure that patients, carers and the public are safeguarded and are able to have their views heard. We are committed to making sure that we hand over delivery to the successful provider in a way which ensures that local people continue to receive excellent support. We hope that by doing this effectively, we will support the new model proposed by Healthwatch North Somerset to maintain the momentum and high quality delivery local people expect and have received to date.
The Care Forum continues to provide a wide range of services in both Bristol and South Gloucestershire – if you want to find out more, how you can get involved, and the difference we make, then please get in touch: https://www.thecareforum.org/contact-us/