Healthwatch Dorset highly commended three times at national awards
13 Jul 2017
Healthwatch Dorset has walked away with three Highly Commended awards that celebrate the difference local Healthwatch has made to health and social care in the past year. Nominated against tough competition from across England, Healthwatch Dorset was commended by Healthwatch England in the Information and Advice award category for its work to develop better and more understandable advice & information about local health and care services and commended twice in the award category It Starts With You.
The Information and Advice award celebrates “the Healthwatch that have met the needs of their community in providing the public with accurate, reliable, relevant and useful information about local services, when they need it, in a format that meets their needs, and which has helped to make a difference locally”. The commendation for Healthwatch Dorset notes two particular pieces of work they have done.
With local group Poole Forum (a speaking-up group run for and by people with learning disabilities) Healthwatch Dorset produced an easy-read guide on how to make a complaint about a health or social care service. Nikki Brown, Manager of Poole Forum, said: “We are really pleased to work in partnership with Healthwatch Dorset to provide this accessible guide and get things right for people who need easy-read information”. And with Bournemouth Deaf Club Healthwatch Dorset made a video about Healthwatch in British Sign Language (BSL). The Healthwatch video features members of Bournemouth Deaf Club and is presented by Matt Kirby. Matt told us: "Healthwatch visited Bournemouth Deaf Club a few months ago and our members suggested that they make a sign language video for Dorset. When you're deaf it can be really difficult to get the information that you need – so it's been great to work on a project that makes Healthwatch Dorset available to everyone".
Jane Mordue, Chair of Healthwatch England, said:
"Healthwatch Dorset have worked hard to reach every area of their community to make sure that people know where to go to get information about health and care".
The It Starts With You award highlights the difference that members of the public and patients giving their feedback on local health and care services can make. The two commendations for Healthwatch Dorset recognise the way they have worked with two particular local residents to improve services.
Joely Colmer, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, is an active and passionate member of the community and has worked hard to encourage children and young people to speak up about what they think of local health and social care services. Joely has shared her own, often painful experiences, to give others the courage to share their story. She supported Healthwatch Dorset’s Be Yourself Everybody Else Is Taken project, designed to encourage children and young people to express their views creatively through drawings, paintings, videos, poems and essays. Her blog was shared with colleges, schools and youth groups and helped to encourage over 600 children and young people to take part in the project. Healthwatch Dorset invited health and care leaders to an event at AFC Bournemouth's Vitality Stadium in March 2017 to share what they’d found and Joely was the main speaker. She made a real impact on everyone attending by giving a powerful speech about her experiences growing up with Asperger’s Syndrome. The "Be Yourself" project is now on a summer tour, currently on display at Poole Lighthouse Centre for the Arts, and will be used to launch a new Dorset Healthcare NHS Trust children & young people's service improvement project later this year. Thanks to Joely and everyone who took part in the project, health and care professionals in Dorset now know more about the issues affecting children and young people in Dorset.
96-year-old Rosetta West, who lives at Melton Court sheltered housing in Poole, waited for over four hours for an ambulance after a fall. Rosetta remained on the floor, anxious and in pain, as safety protocols would not allow staff to lift her. Fiona Smith, Melton Court Manager, contacted Healthwatch Dorset to share her concern that residents were facing ever-longer delays when they needed an ambulance. Healthwatch Dorset shared Rosetta’s experience with Dorset MP Richard Drax ahead of a debate he was leading in parliament about ambulance waiting times, bringing real life experience into the discussion. To help raise awareness further, Healthwatch Dorset supported Fiona and Rosetta to take part in interviews by newspapers, TV and radio journalists. The process has helped to turn a terrible experience for Rosetta into a positive call for change. As a direct result of these two women’s efforts, the ambulance trust has designed a new training and development programme for sheltered staff across the county in how to lift people after an incident. This has helped reduce pressures on ambulance services.
Category judge Lord Victor Adebowale, CEO of Turning Point and NHS England Board member, said:
"The #ItStartsWithYou is a new award for 2017 and recognises an individual or group of people who have made a significant contribution to helping improve health and care services for their community. This particularly special because we're recognising the people who use their voices to help make change happen."
Healthwatch Dorset Chair, Joyce Guest, and Manager, Martyn Webster, received the Highly Commended award certificates from David Behan, Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission, at the Healthwatch National Conference in Nottingham on 6th July.