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  • 3000 people – more than ever before – share their views of local health and social care

  • The most popular issues raised were on mental health, children and young people’s health services and the social care and isolation of older people in care homes

  • And now Healthwatch Gloucestershire sets out its priorities for year ahead based on findings

More than 3000 people have shared their views on the county’s GP surgeries, hospitals and social care over the last year with Healthwatch Gloucestershire – helping to shape and improve those services for all.

In its latest Impact Report, published today, Healthwatch Gloucestershire highlights how it has worked with communities across the county to make a difference to the way health and social care services are run.

Based on the feedback from the public and information from strategic meetings from the last year, Healthwatch Gloucestershire will now focus its work around services supporting people with substance misuse issues; look into the experiences of young people and their parents or carers who move from children’s health and social care services into adult services and tackle the issue of social isolation for older people living in care homes.

The year in numbers

  • Healthwatch Gloucestershire heard from over 3000 people who shared their views.
  • The top services receiving comments were mental health, children and young people’s health and older people’s health.
  • The team at Healthwatch Gloucestershire visited 168 services and 34 community events to understand people’s experiences of health and social care.
  • Its dedicated team of 42 volunteers gave up 1250 hours of their time to help carry out engagement work.
  • More than 176 people accessed health advice and support thanks to being pointed in the right direction by Healthwatch Gloucestershire.
  • The most popular things people needed help with were community transport, how to make a complaint and community dentists.

How your views have made a difference

  • Last summer, Healthwatch Gloucestershire jointly led a research project to find out about the views of Podsmead residents on all things food-related as part of the Food & Families Project for Gloucestershire Public Health. Around 50 people went to a free community meal and were asked about food options and choices on the estate. The survey found access to affordable, fresh food was an issue for residents without a car and many people were in favour of a mini supermarket selling affordable fresh and good quality food on the estate. The findings from the report will feed into a national piece of work led by Leeds Beckett University to help local authorities tackle obesity.
  • In the autumn, we visited local hospices, support groups for people with long term conditions, carers groups, a Death Café and lunch clubs to find out how people got the information they needed about end of life care. Over 50 responses have been fed into a report, which reveals patients and their families in Gloucestershire say better information needs to be provided for local people around end of life care. The findings were reported to the End of Life Care Clinical Programme Group – a group of partners including the NHS Gloucestershire CCG set up to ensure all people and their families at the end of their life receive high quality care.
  • And in March this year, Healthwatch Gloucestershire went on its Campervan & Comments Tour, hiring a classic VW campervan to travel 400 miles across the county to gather the views of more than 500 people from all corners of the county. Waiting times for GP appointments was the most popular topic of conversation.

Julia Butler-Hunt, Healthwatch Gloucestershire Manager, added: “The Campervan and Comments tour was a real highlight for us this year. We were able to use our independence to creatively reach people that had never heard about us before and listen to their views.

“Many of our conversations were about access to primary care, and it was clear that whilst there is disparity across Gloucestershire, more could be done to help people access these services. We will work hard to ensure their voice is heard with the decision-makers in the county.

“I want to say a huge thank you to all our volunteers and to everyone who has shared their views with us. Everyone’s health and care story is vital to the work we do.”

To read the full report, click here: www.healthwatchgloucestershire.co.uk/report-publications