Early Intervention & Prevention Contract Consultation

Healthwatch Wirral was asked to carry out a consultation with people who use services covered under the Early Intervention & Prevention contract, in order to ensure their views were taken into account by commissioners.

The existing contract covered a range of services including support for adult and young adult carers, support for older people with dementia and frailty, self-management for people with long-term conditions, special education needs and disability (SEND) support, Shopmobility and sensory services.

In addition to circulating a survey via email and social media, we worked in partnership with community groups to run face-to-face workshops with people who use these services. Services we worked with included Age UK Wirral, Wirral Mind, Soup and Support Carers Group, Carers Get Together, Merseyside Society for Deaf People, and Wirral Society for the Blind and Partially Sighted.

Many people wanted to discuss their experiences during COVID-19 restrictions. Carers highlighted the impact of lockdowns and the effect of infection control measures on support for themselves and the people they care for; Deaf and blind participants discussed their difficulties accessing medical care and social isolation resulting from inclusive activities being suspended. We also heard about mental health difficulties some people experienced due to bereavement without anyone to talk to or support them.

“I desperately wanted someone to talk to in the middle of the night, when I was in crisis.” Feedback from a local carer

What difference did this make?

We published a report based on survey results and focus group discussions, which made recommendations including the prompt reinstatement of respite and day services, a 24-hour carers’ helpline, access to information in multiple formats and wider bereavement support. This report was submitted to Wirral Council and was included in the supporting documents for the decision on the Award of the Early Intervention and Prevention and Carers (Adult and Young Carers).