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Bridge Virtual Forum (Third Sector and PPGs) Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th March 2021

Mar 31, 2021 | BRIDGE Forum, News

The purpose of BRIDGE is to give updates and share regular information about Wirral Health & Social Care services, giving a voice to all sectors. A place that is shared with Community, Health & Social Care representatives. BRIDGE offers a unique opportunity to talk openly about the experiences for Wirral residents, identify needs and issues encountered. The main aim is to provide a collective and safe space for all to listen, meet others, get answers & to think #Spare5, so we can work in a connected and integrated way to bring ideas and recommendations together. If we can be open, brave and honest, we can help improve the pathways of services for Wirral residents and ultimately drive improvement.

Invited guests

Mike Chantler Wirral CCG (Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group)

Dave Carroll – Wirral Adult Social Care

Deborah Gallagher – NWAS (Northwest Ambulance Service)

Evan Richards – Kooth- provides a safe and secure means of accessing mental health and wellbeing support designed specifically for young people. Kooth offers young people (aged 11-25) in Wirral the opportunity to have a text-based conversation with a qualified counsellor.
[email protected]

Louise Harland-Davies and Michelle Gough – Wirral Community Champions
[email protected]

Healthwatch Wirral – Feedback Centre/COVID-19 Vaccine hubs/Social Care issues
[email protected]

Wirral CCG

COVID-19 Vaccination

  • 158,000 doses delivered on Wirral as of 18th March – mostly first doses but starting on second doses now
  • There is no indication that people will miss second dose due to supply issues
  • Oxford vaccine – risk of COVID outweighs risk of blood clots
  • New vaccine supplies coming April onwards – Moderna and Novavax
  • 88% vaccinated in groups 1-9 across Wirral but still need to reach some high-risk
  • Getting the vaccine is a personal choice but need to make sure people are making an informed choice based on facts, not misinformation
  • Younger women declining vaccine including health and care staff – no proven impact on fertility but this is mentioned as a concern
  • Working with community engagement partners to do targeted conversations including with young women and BAME community
  • Vaccination programme is key to easing lockdown and managing future outbreaks

Questions/issues raised

  • Wirral Change – challenges around Black Caribbean community – what’s being done?
    • A lot of work has been done to support this- this work continues.
    • BAME Subgroup- exists on Wirral to cover this wider areas of health inequalities concerning the BAME Population on Wirral.
    • Wirral Change have been doing outreach to Black Caribbean and African communities to encourage vaccine uptake- as this has been a specific area of concern.
    • This is also being supported by WMO (Wirral Multi Cultural Organisation) & WCA (Wirral Chinese Association)- WCA have further shared concerns around the communities that access their support and activities- and are working on this to ensure access to the best information.
  • NWAS – Ramadan
    • Vaccine doesn’t break the fast – there is a need to get the message out- communications are being produced to offer reassurance.
  • Community champions – are undertaking some insight – focusing on health and social care staff with a survey.
    • Need to demystify side effects – it’s different for everyone but they can be quite scary to read about
    • Care home staff – CCG has done engagement sessions with a GP but mainly care home managers attended – need care workers
    • Care home residents are especially vulnerable – we need care staff to take up the vaccine if at all possible
  • Carer experiences
    • Multiple attendees have had issues attending appointments as carers, including for elderly relatives with sight loss and dementia – this has led to increased anxiety and stress for carer and patient
    • One Carer shared that they were challenged multiple times at a vaccine site – communication is not good even within a service.
    • Reported inconsistency across vaccine sites and other health care providers is a real issue – some staff are great but others less so- this is being highlighted at the Vaccine Steering group- recommending a review around consistency.
    • Needs to be considered going orwards with changes to services – not just for COVID vaccine.
    • Suggestion – some kind of carer’s ID/wristband? HW to raise with WIRED
  • Access to vaccine
    • One report shared ‘Trying to book online for a health and social care worker was a nightmare’ – nearest site offered was Bootle (from Wirral) – hard to get through to GP also.
    • Over 50s – some cases of employers being difficult, not letting people out to go and get it.
    • Some people sharing that they have already had their Vaccine- having had it due to being a worker- but then being called by their GP- recording questioned- and concern around the risks that may be associated.
    • Wirral Maternity Voices – lack of info for pregnant and breastfeeding women
      • Needs to be part of comms plan – WMO is asked about this constantly and feel the message is not getting through – safe to have vaccine while breastfeeding, discuss with obstetrician if pregnant and high-risk.

COVID Vaccination Key Messages and Actions

  • Very Good uptake on Wirral but still need to reach some key groups.
  • Having the vaccine is a personal choice but need to make sure it’s based on facts and accurate information, not myths
  • CCG and council are doing targeted work with e.g. BAME populations, young women, care home staff to encourage vaccine uptake
  • Healthwatch Wirral to raise issues at vaccine subgroup – carer experiences, online booking system

NHS 111 First

  • Good level of uptake on Wirral
  • Second phase – want to put more services on their including mental health.
  • Direct engagement with people around NHS 111 First – tying in to how the NHS is going to manage moving forward
  • Backlog of elective/planned surgery – The system needs to carefully manage how people use NHS services- to Keep.Wirral.Well.
  • National campaign – media over Easter holidays- please do keep an eye out for this!

Questions/issues raised

  • Comms
    • Lots of people have missed the message to call them! Call to action to the group- How do we reach isolated people and those who e.g., do not watch TV with ads so don’t see national media campaigns.
    • Suggestion – posters in pharmacies, supermarkets etc? We can’t rely on online ads alone.
    • Suggestion – use community benches in New Brighton to hand out leaflets/info?
  • Experiences of NHS 111
    • One attendee rang NHS 111 when she had COVID and received very little advice/felt her concerns weren’t taken seriously – concerns around telling people to call NHS 111 after this kind of experience
    • It will put people off if they don’t have a good experience


NHS 111

  • Engagement phase – NWAS agreed still work to do to make sure people are informed.
  • Feedback – they have been sending out postal surveys after hospital visits.
  • Healthwatch Wirral will be supporting gathering feedback through the feedback Centre-
  • Aug-Jan – 74% thought they needed to go to hospital when they rang, 64% were assessed as needing to go – this did result in a reduction in people attending hospital.
  • Good feedback also for people sent to urgent treatment/GPs- which demonstrates the potential benefits.
  • Engagement work – NWAS are planning targeted work – younger people, parents of younger children – Spotify and podcast ads- they will keep us posted.
  • Translated videos are in the works- will make sure that these are shared.
  • Need a cultural shift in how we think about A&E- support people in how they feel confident around their health care decisions.

NHS 111 First Key Messages and Actions

  • There are plans for targeted engagement to make sure everyone is aware of the NHS 111 First message
  • Need not to rely on online advertising and use other avenues also

Dave Carroll – Adult Social Care


CAB Social Prescribing

  • Has there been a service design shift in recent months?
    • No recent changes so it’s a concern if new issues are coming up
  • Communicating with named social workers has been a challenge – are people being moved between social workers?
    • Social workers should give direct contact number and mobile phone no
    • Wirral has never been in a position where people keep a social worker forever – staff are involved while something needs to be done; when care package is running smoothly they will go under review
    • Shared that there have been limited resources and shifts in the way staff are able to work – staff need to focus on current issues not huge caseload.
    • Service design shift- there will be follow up and representation from Social care moving forward, so the system representatives can work with them.
  • CAB team

Comment- feels that a level of consistency is necessary for some individuals – constantly changing personnel is very difficult for them- especially with the drive for Person Centered care and Planning.

  • Response was that- It’s a balancing act – DC will pass concerns on
  1. Where does Duty sit for people who would previously have had a social worker to help with financial issues e.g., bill payment where there is a level of vulnerability?
  • There are Divided responsibilities – council does financial assessments PFU (Personal Finance Unit)
  • If someone is lacking capacity around finance, and this has been established through an assessment, they would encourage a family member to take on financial management (LPA- Lasting Power of Attorney) – in extraordinary cases the LA can take this on which would have a social worker/care navigator attached.
  • Financial processes e.g. Debt panel are triggered by council

Age UK Wirral

  • Comment- Issue with people being able to get social services involved when they’ve gone into hospital, there appears to be gaps?
  • Comment- Assessments are being done over the phone – carers & people involved feel assessor is not getting a true picture of what’s going on as person with dementia can present quite well on a phone call- time and the right questions, is a barrier…
    • Response- Phone assessments are due to COVID, but social care is aware that things can get missed over the phone
    • If an assessment is taking place the team should be speaking to known carers/people with LPA – DC will raise issue with team.
  • Comment- Carers in crisis not getting correct help – there seems to be a perception that because the cared-for has somebody to care for them the situation is okay.
    • Response- Emergency care is regularly being signed off, but it is wrong that anyone is having a negative experience.
      • DC will follow up specific cases.

Adult Social Care Key Messages and Actions

  • Issues raised include lack of consistency in social care support and lack of clarity for the community services trying to help.
  • Difficulties getting social care support for financial issues, and challenges faced by carers in getting social care support.
  • Bridge Hollingsworth will attend BRIDGE in April to update


Evan Richards – Kooth

  • Kooth is a mental health and emotional wellbeing service for ages 11-25
  • Paid for by local CCGs so free to access for young people
  • – good intro to signpost to
  • It’s an Anonymous service – no personal info apart from DOB and area.
  • Services include:
    • Counselling – send a message or join an instant chat queue
    • Magazine – written by staff and young people – content is sectioned off based on age range and links to accessible documents are available
    • Peer support forums – moderated by staff
    • Journal keeping tools – track moods and triggers
    • Mini-activities – developed with young people, can be used away from screen – also has comments feature to build community
    • Goal setting tool – can be used with counsellors or alone
  • Kooth is BACP accredited and doesn’t use volunteers – young people will always speak to either a counsellor or an emotional support worker (e.g. teacher or youth worker with additional Kooth training)

Louise Harland-Davies/Michelle Gough – Wirral Community Champions


  • What’s the ask right now if we are signed up?
    • Share bulletin information friends/neighbours etc – try to combat myths

Healthwatch Wirral – Feedback Centre

  • Current focus has been on the vaccine but want to remind people they can use it for any health and social care services.
  • Vaccine – vast majority is very positive – feedback shared with vaccine sites
  • Starting to have feedback about second vaccinations – some reviews mention improvements since first jab
  • Will share feedback publicly to help support myth-busting.


HWW- Tell Us about! Next BRIDGE we will be also be discussing

GP Access

Recent report Published by Healthwatch England:

The report shared that tens of thousands of people who have offered feedback have struggled to contact or see a local doctor in the last year. HWE have called on the NHS to do a national review of GP access arrangements as the country rebuilds after the pandemic.

THE HWE report found:

  • Negative experiences shared with Healthwatch rise to highest ever level, up 20% on pre-pandemic figures
  • A sudden shift to digital care works for many, but leaves some of the most vulnerable behind
  • Consistent reports of patients struggling to get appointment for health check-ups and treatments.

Health Inequalities

  • BAME Language and interpreter services- whole healthcare journey
  • LD and health passports
  • Mental Health services across Community, Primary and secondary care

Healthwatch Wirral do our best to try to ensure all our information is accessible to all; please get in touch to request in different formats and languages. The Healthwatch Wirral website also offers ReciteMe functionality that supports additional accessibility:

Look for this button on our website:


Group Info-sharing

  • Wirral Intelligence Service
  • We should all recognise the hard work we’ve done in the last 12 months – the Wirral is a better place for it – doing great work in very difficult circumstances.
  • Wirral Maternity Voices Partnership
    • Great success with Instagram and Facebook Lives – collecting questions from service users and having them answered live by consultants – really popular.
  • Ask to PPGs – share information and get more involved in the BRIDGE to help shape the services you want to see at a practice level.
  • HWW are conducting a piece of insight work speaking to people who have been shielding over the pandemic ‘Seeing the Light through The Armour’- Moving forward From Shielding – information will be sent out- please get involved to support capturing this moment in history and help shaping how our services support as we move forward.
  • How are we going to make sure patient voice is involved in integrated care/reorganization of CCGs? Why hasn’t every surgery got a PPG/why aren’t they active?
    • Healthwatch will take to CCG – Mike Chantler

Do not forget to keep checking Healthwatch’s News section for local updates and make certain you are signed up for the bulletin:

If you and your team have good news, updates, concerns #SpeakOut, get in touch with Healthwatch Wirral and we will be there to #Spare5

#BeacuaseWeAllCare #ItStartsWithYou #TogetherWeAreStronger

‘Foundations of Quality Improvement should always have what patients tell us about their treatment and care at the heart of everything, as a system, that we plan and do. We must be able to evidence that all actions and decisions made come back to this, making certain that everyone feels respected, involved, and valued at each and every part of the journey. We should all feel confident that we are either giving or receiving quality care.’

Healthwatch Wirral, Age UK Wirral, NHS England and ECIST, Wirral System

The next Bridge Forum meetings

Wednesday 21st April 11am – 12:30pm

For anyone involved with the Third Sector (voluntary or community groups)

Thursday 22nd April 11am – 12:30pm

For anyone involved in Patient Participation groups (PPGs)

We will be inviting CCG and other speakers once again to update and talk through more developments.

We will also be talking #Spare5, Keep.Wirral.Well, Wirral Champions and other ways you can be involved locally to help make a difference.

Click below to reserve a place and obtain joining instructions.

We look forward to seeing you, in the meantime please stay safe.

Have your say

Please #Spare5 to give us feedback of your experiences of health and social care in Wirral. Our Feedback Centre is free and easy to use – just search for a service and answer a few questions about your experience.

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