Helen Webb, from Stroud, has just taken on the mantle of Healthwatch Gloucestershire Manager.

From her first job working Saturdays in Boots the Chemist in Stroud, she became an operational manager in care and support services.  More recently she moved into managing customer and community engagement for Guinness Care and Support nationally.

Helen said: “It was my responsibility to make sure that all of our service users had a say and could make a difference.  I was also responsible for delivering community projects with health and wellbeing outcomes.”

Now she brings her enthusiasm and experience to make sure the voices of the people in Gloucestershire are heard and that the commissioners and providers can make good decisions based on the evidence Healthwatch provides.

“I am really excited to start this role.  It feels like such a privilege to work with our partners, volunteers and people across the county.  Healthwatch is an essential part of making sure that health and care services in Gloucestershire are the best that they can be.  This is important work and I am passionate about making it count,” Helen added.

“I would like to build on the foundation that exists and make sure that everybody knows about Healthwatch Gloucestershire.  I would like to focus on voices that we haven’t heard before and really explore some current issues with people so that we can help make positive changes across our county.

“We want to be proactive about reaching out to our community partners and making sure that we leave nobody behind as we help make health and care services the best that they can be.” she said.

In speaking of her own experiences with health and care services in Gloucestershire, Helen said: “My large Gloucestershire family have used NHS services since it was founded!  We’ve all benefited from the expertise and exceptional care from services ranging from maternity to end of life care.  My personal experience tells me that we have some amazing people working really hard to help us all in often challenging circumstances.”

Helen feels the main health and care concerns of Gloucestershire residents at the moment are concerns about getting timely access to primary health care services wherever they live, with access to GPs being the foundation for everything else.  She said: “I have heard concerns about mental health services, particularly for young people, and increasing numbers of people are worried about accessing reliable care services that sit alongside our health services – whether this is on a long-term or short-term basis.”

“I believe 100% that the public’s voice can make a difference.  Ordinary people taking the time to be heard, make suggestions and make their experiences count can make a profound difference,” she said.

In her spare time, Helen loves to sing and could happily lose days printmaking.  She also loves exploring anywhere on foot and being on the water.