As you are probably more than aware the way health and social care services operate has been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) with non-urgent treatment postponed, face-to-face appointments reduced and homes and services limiting public access. At the same time the voluntary and community sector has been under intense pressures providing incredible support and assistance to communities and individuals across Hampshire
For all of us here at Healthwatch Wokingham, the outbreak has also resulted in significant changes to our work, with much of our planned public engagement and visits to services paused and a greater focus on providing advice to the public (especially hard to reach groups) and supporting the local response to COVID-19. We have adapted and will continue to do so in order to meet the needs of the residents of Wokingham.
Now more than ever it is critical that Healthwatch Wokingham understands the issues the public are facing and the experiences they are having in relation to health and social care services. It is also important that health and social care services understand the impact these changes are having more broadly – especially when they concern people’s safety or will have implications once services begin the return to normal. Healthwatch Wokingham is therefore clear that feedback we provide can help the NHS and social care services during this time by helping them spot and address issues caused by the COVID19 crisis.
The “eyes and ears” campaign is about us asking you, our voluntary sector partners to be the eyes and ears for Healthwatch Wokingham. We don’t want to add more work on to everything that you are already doing, but would ask that if people are talking about or expressing concerns about health and social care services that you encourage them to get in touch with us and provide feedback. We will then use the feedback to create change and improve services by sharing this with health and social care partners. Also, we would like to seek feedback on how the public are finding the new ways of working across health and social care e.g. different processes for appointment bookings, use of e-consult, and potentially video consultations. Has this created improvements?
To support the campaign, we have created a digital flier and would ask that you circulate this across your networks, clients and refer to it when dealing with members of the public who may want to provide feedback.
We recognise that this is a big ask but we feel you are ideally placed to support us in enabling people to have their say and speak out during these difficult times.