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Last year (April 2021-March 2022), Healthwatch Gloucestershire supported more than 2,850 people to have their say on health and social care and to get the right information and advice about local services.

In its latest Annual Report, Championing what matters to you, Healthwatch Gloucestershire highlights how it worked throughout the year to understand people’s health and care needs, and to use public feedback to help NHS and social care services improve in Gloucestershire. The report also outlines work planned for 2022-23.

The year in numbers

  • In total, 2,858 people shared feedback or sought information about health and care services.
  • 1,790 people shared their experiences of local health and social care services.
  • 1,068 people asked for information, advice, and support on how to get the care they need.
  • 25 volunteers supported Healthwatch Gloucestershire last year, giving up 74 days of their time to make care better for their community.
  • Healthwatch Gloucestershire published six reports about the improvements people would like to see to health and social care services.

Healthwatch Gloucestershire’s reports and how public feedback has made a difference

1. Hospital discharge in Gloucestershire: Patients and carers told Healthwatch Gloucestershire that the experience of being discharged from hospital and moved between services for ongoing care can be confusing, disjointed, and stressful. This issue is being monitored by governors at the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust as it links with concerns around delayed discharge due to the difficulties in social care provision.

2. Social isolation and loneliness in Gloucestershire: Healthwatch Gloucestershire investigated people’s experiences of social isolation and loneliness and used their feedback to show service providers and commissioners how people could be supported. Gloucestershire Healthy Communities is using the report to consider how to tackle social isolation in the country.

3. Post-COVID syndrome health care and support: As more people are being diagnosed with post-COVID syndrome (long COVID), Healthwatch Gloucestershire asked people how they have been affected by the condition and what care and support they have received and needed. In response to public feedback, Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust has started to provide their post-COVID syndrome assessment questionnaire in a variety of formats, reviewed and updated their interventions so that people have more practical advice, and changed their referral process so that people can access the assessment and support service after a face-to-face GP appointment.

4. Young people’s health and care services: Healthwatch Gloucestershire asked young people about the changes they would like to see to improve the services they use. Gloucestershire’s Integrated Care System is using the insight and findings from the report to inform service improvement for young people.

5. Promoting the voices of the Deaf community in Gloucestershire to help tackle health inequalities: Healthwatch shone a spotlight on the challenges faced by the Deaf community and people who are hearing impaired when accessing health and care services. This report was shared with service providers to make sure people’s needs are being met, and the Care Quality Commission is using people’s feedback to inform their future strategy for tackling health inequalities.

6. People’s experiences of blood pressure monitoring at home: This Gloucestershire focused report was based on wider work with Healthwatch England to highlight the benefits and challenges of using technology to support healthcare. NHS Gloucestershire CCG have now commissioned Healthwatch Gloucestershire to carry out an in-depth project on digital inclusion.

Announcing the annual report, Nikki Richardson, Chair of the Healthwatch Gloucestershire Board, said: “As the health and care system in Gloucestershire puts into effect plans for recovery following the pandemic, Healthwatch Gloucestershire has been a key player in ensuring that local voices have been heard and responded to. This annual report shows some of the ways we have done this throughout the year to help create positive change in services. Going forward, we are committed to championing better care for everyone, including those who often go unheard. We will continue to work closely with the NHS, local councils, care providers and the voluntary sector, sharing people’s concerns and queries to help improve access to services and quality of care.”

Healthwatch Gloucestershire priorities for 2022-23

In 2022-23 Healthwatch Gloucestershire will be looking to understand the health and care experiences of people living with autism, refugees and asylum seekers, and young people with mental health issues. They will also work with One Gloucestershire NHS Integrated Care System (ICS) on a project looking at digital inclusion.

Read the full Healthwatch Gloucestershire Annual Report 2021-22 to find out more about their work during the past year, including findings and recommendations for changes to services.

 

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