Healthwatch England's #ItStartsWithYou campaign was launced this week to support celebrations marking 70 years of the NHS. The campaign aims to show people how their voice can help make health and social care better, and give them a channel to share their views.
The more people share their ideas, experiences and concerns, the more services can understand what works, what doesn't and what people want in the future.
We want to improve our Southwark services
Healthwatch Southwark is supporting this campaign - as always, no matter how big or small an issue with health and social care, they want to hear about it. If it matters to you it is likely that it will matter to someone else too...It really does start with you!
Healthwatch Southwark are sometimes able to raise an issue directly with the right service provider or commissioner. They keep detailed records of feedback so that they can use it to inform decision makers or regulators at the right moment. For example, last year they used feedback about mental health services to inform their contributions to a new local Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, contributed through their membership of at least a dozen Council and Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) committees, and passed on concerns about services ahead of Care Quality Commision (CQC) inspections.
They also use your feedback to set priorities around services and issues they need to work on in more depth. You can find examples of their current and past reports here on their website.
Catherine Negus, Healthwatch Southwark's Manager, said:
The perspective of patients and the public is not just a 'nice to have' for health and social care services, but necessary to ensure they work properly and make the best use of resources. Hearing from you can help make care safer, more accessible, more effective and a better experience for everyone, from patients and their families to the professionals who look after them.
Do you know anyone who is making a difference?
Five people and groups have been shortlisted for a national Healthwatch England award that celebrates people who, through their dedication, have helped improve health and social care for their community.
You can see the shortlist for this year's award and read more about their amazing achievements here.
There will be people within your local communities who are right now working hard to try and make a difference and improve health and care. Perhaps they are running a campaign to raise awareness about a specific disease or illness, because they have a family member or friend who has been affected. Or perhaps you know someone who is campaigning to improve access to a service for groups of people who face inequalities and disadvantages.
If so, please tell Healthwatch Southwark so that they can support them by highlighting their campaign and spreading the word. They will get their stories into their Healthwatch Southwark ebulletin, on their website and out in some social media posts.
Please email: email@example.com, or tweet @HWSouthwark
How else can you get involved yourself?
There are a number of ways you can support the campaign yourself. Healthwatch England have a poster that you can download and print out to share - you can find this here.
There are also some social media graphics that you can download and use in your tweets and Facebook posts here.
Find out more
You can find out more about the campaign on the Healthwatch England website here.