Last night the Healthwatch network came together to recognise some of the fantastic work of local community champions helping to improve the country’s hospitals, GPs and care services.

A record breaking 170 entries from over 100 local Healthwatch teams were submitted this year. These were then whittled down to 35 shortlisted entries across seven categories.

The winners were chosen by members the Healthwatch England national committee, with the awards presented by high profile speakers including Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, and Chair of the Parliamentary Health and Social Care Committee, Sarah Wollaston.

Award categories:

  • Giving people the advice and information they need
  • Volunteering
  • Helping people have their say
  • Improving health and social care
  • Championing diversity and inclusion
  • #ItStartsWithYou
  • Celebrating 70 years of the NHS

Imelda Redmond CBE, National Director of Healthwatch England, said:
“The Healthwatch Network Awards are a fantastic opportunity for the whole network to come together and celebrate the difference our teams and volunteers are making right across the country. 

“All of the entrants this year demonstrated the real impact we can have when people’s experiences are placed at the heart of the services they receive.
“I’d like to thank all those who took part, they have done themselves and their communities proud.”

Award Winners

Giving people the advice and information they need

Winner – Healthwatch Wirral
Runner Up – Healthwatch Surrey
Highly Commended – Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire, Healthwatch Shropshire and Healthwatch Torbay

Healthwatch Wirral’s Infobank service, developed in partnership with Arrowe Park Hospital, won this category for helping more than 12,000 local people access information and advice about a whole range of services – from help quitting smoking to finding a care home for a loved one.

Helen Parker, award judge and Healthwatch National Committee Member, said:

“Healthwatch Wirral mixed collaboration, information and providing advice to deliver significant improvements in the numbers of people they engaged with over the last year. Patients, families and friends, NHS staff and other professionals have all benefited from this central point of support and information.”

Volunteering

Winner – Healthwatch Wiltshire
Runner Up – Healthwatch South Gloucestershire 
HIGHLY COMMENDED – Healthwatch Birmingham, Healthwatch Derbyshire, Healthwatch Northamptonshire

Healthwatch Wiltshire won this award for their outstanding efforts working with young volunteers to support hundreds of people have their say on mental health. By recruiting 21 ‘Young Listeners’ to visit schools they have made it easier for young people to speak up about their experiences and helped those who need support to access it more quickly.

Liz Sayce, award judge and Healthwatch National Committee Member, said:

“Healthwatch Wiltshire have this year demonstrated the real power of peer support. They helped young people who had experienced mental health challenges to grow in confidence through volunteering, learn how to support themselves, and how to help others too.”

Helping people have their say

WINNER – Healthwatch Northamptonshire
RUNNER UP – Healthwatch Camden
HIGHLY COMMENDED – Healthwatch County Durham, Healthwatch Herefordshire, Healthwatch Staffordshire

With the local Clinical Commissioning Group looking to improve maternity services, Healthwatch Northamptonshire reached out to over 500 local parents to find out what they wanted to see improved. Their inclusive approach, using a mix of social media and community events, meant they were able to gather a diverse range of experiences, from young parents to mums who experienced mental health challenges.

Ruchir Rodrigues, award judge and Healthwatch England National Committee Member, said:

“Healthwatch Northamptonshire showed a really creative approach to reach a diverse set of parents. The breadth and the depth of feedback they received has helped shape local plans and means in the future services will be more tailored around what people want. It also provided a best practice model for engagement and consultation more broadly.”

Improving health and social care

Winner – Healthwatch Hillingdon
Runner Up – Healthwatch Camden
HIGHLY COMMENDED – Healthwatch Enfield, Healthwatch Manchester, Healthwatch Tower Hamlets

Healthwatch Hillingdon spoke to people over 65 who had been inpatients at the local hospital. The majority of the 170 people provided positive feedback about services. However, they did raise poor experiences around the discharge process. Using this insight, Healthwatch made a number of specific recommendations leading to the hospital making important changes such as addressing delays with patient transport and identifying carers so extra help can be provided.

Phil Huggon, award judge and Healthwatch England National Committee Member, said:

“Healthwatch Hillingdon delivered an extensive programme to engage with local hospital inpatients and the staff looking after them. Of the nine recommendations they made, the hospital acknowledged eight of them and have already made real improvements that are improving experiences for local people.”

Championing diversity and inclusion

Winner – Healthwatch Staffordshire
Runner UP – Healthwatch Lancashire 
HIGHLY COMMENDED – Healthwatch East Sussex, Healthwatch Hampshire, Healthwatch Oxfordshire

People living in prisons are entitled to the same level and quality of health services as other NHS patients, but access isn’t always as good as it should be. Thanks to Healthwatch Staffordshire, working in partnership with NHS England, new licenses have been put in place enabling people living in six local prisons to access community dentistry services.

Lee Adams, award judge and Healthwatch England National Committee Member, said:

“By creating a volunteer champion role in each of the prisons Healthwatch Staffordshire were able to identify access to dentistry as a real issue. By working in partnership with NHS England and the local prison service, they have then been able to unblock some of the bureaucratic blockages that were stopping local prisoners from accessing the care they need.”

#ItStartsWithYou 

2018 is the second year of the #ItStartsWithYou award, celebrating the individuals who have worked passionately towards improving health and care for their community. Nominees are put forward by their local Healthwatch.

Winner – Tony Bentley, nominated by Healthwatch Co. Durham
Runner Up – Errol Campbell, nominated by Healthwatch Bristol 
HIGHLY COMMENDED – Becky Lawley, nominated by Healthwatch Dudley,
Families of Nascot Lawn, nominated by Healthwatch Hertfordshire,
Sandra Bell, nominated by Healthwatch Northamptonshire.

When Tony needed to find a reliable care home for his mum he struggled to get the information he needed. He raised his concerns with Healthwatch County Durham and worked with them to convince the council and local care homes to create and update a local database to provide people with the information they need to make such an important decision.

Amy Kroviak, award judge and Healthwatch England National Committee Member, said:

“When a friend or family member’s needs can’t be met at home any longer, making the decision to move them into care can be stressful. Thanks to Tony and his determination, other families across County Durham now have all the information they need to help them make this difficult choice and find the right place for their loved one.”

Celebrating 70 years of the NHS 

Across England, doctors, nurses and other care professionals regularly go the extra mile to ensure the public are looked after. This year, as the NHS turned 70, we have created this special award to recognise the health and social care organisations that have put people first. Nominations were put forward by local Healthwatch.

Winner – Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership, nominated by Healthwatch Surrey
Runner Up – Peartree Medical Centre, nominated by Healthwatch Derby 
HIGHLY COMMENDED – Dr. Knut Schroeder, nominated by Healthwatch Bristol,
Ann O’Brien, Integrated Commissioning Manager for people with a learning disability, nominated by Healthwatch Isle of Wight,
Avery Mews Care Home and the Co-operative Childcare Nursery in Dewsbury, nominated by Healthwatch Kirklees. 

The NHS in Surrey, in partnership with the local council, developed a plan that would improve the health and wellbeing of local people.

From the beginning they decided that they wanted an approach that was driven by the needs and wants of the community. They have worked hard to engage thousands of local people in the planning process and have worked with Healthwatch Surrey to recruit seven ‘Community Ambassadors’ to oversee the engagement programme.

Jane Mordue, award judge and former Chair of Healthwatch England, said:

“The Citizen Ambassadors introduced by Surrey Heartlands are helping ensure that more local people, particularly those hardest to reach, have an independent voice in some of the big decisions about the future of health and care in the county. This is a brilliant model and one it would be great to see replicated elsewhere in the country.”

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