Agenda item

Local Healthwatch Bracknell Forest - signposting needs of older people


Chris Taylor, Healthwatch, was present at the meeting to discuss Healthwatch, .


Healthwatch England were the consumer champion for health and social care, they used the information and feedback received from the Local Healthwatch network to influence policy at a national level. Each Local and Unitary Authority area, 152 in total had it’s own Local Healthwatch organisation. Together, they formed the Healthwatch network.


Healthwatch Bracknell Forest was a consortium of local organisations working together to deliver Healthwatch Bracknell Forest in response to a public consultation on this point in 2012. Healthwatch was the voice for Health and Social Care, representing people and directing them to existing services.  Their purpose was three-fold:

  • Information and signposting – to help people make informed decisions about health and social care services, and to signpost them to the services they might wish to consider;
  • Gathering views and experiences – keeping records of concerns and comments received and aggregating into evidence to highlight to local commissioners and providers and also for Healthwatch England to inform policy, guidance, audit and inspection;
  • Helping to improve services  - using statutory powers such as making information requests, providing reports and recommendations and undertaking Enter and View for or on behalf of providers and commissioners to help them improve their services.


Healthwatch Bracknell Forest did this by being a service for everyone across health and social care  including children and young people. Healthwatch used what they learnt and translated it into action, seeking to make an impact both locally and nationally, working with Commissioners and Providers.


Healthwatch were independent and acted on behalf of people, challenging providers to deliver better health and social care services, identifying when things went wrong, and had the support of the law and the national strength of Healthwatch England. Healthwatch valued knowledge, sought data and intelligence to challenge assumptions with facts, and shared good practice.


Healthwatch asked the Board to consider what it thought was good about health and social care services for older people, what could be improved and what it thought was missing; people’s views were valuable in shaping work programmes and influencing priorities and recommendations.


Healthwatch’s vision:

  • The right to essential services
  • The right to access services when needed
  • The right to a safe, dignified and quality service
  • The right to information and education
  • The right to choose
  • The right to be listened to
  • The right to be involved in decisions
  • The right to live in a healthy environment


Although it was too early to identify trend as the numbers were still quite small, records kept for monitoring purposes showed that people generally contacted Healthwatch face-to-face, by telephone, by email and by Facebook and where people had requested information about services or signposting, the majority were from people seeking information on behalf of someone they cared for.


The entire Healthwatch network was still developing and a current idea locally was to have an anonymised section of the website for people to make comments to help shape services. It would be useful to see case studies of what Healthwatch did, which included signposting people who wanted to make a complaint.


To give an example of collaborative working, Chris highlighted that a section of the Local Healthwatch (LHW) website had been set up for staff at Wexham Park Hospital to make comments and staff were being made aware of this. Healthwatch were collecting information at present and looking at trends, and had met with health education from NHS England. An aim was to up skill staff to provide better customer services. Work was being undertaken closely with service managers.


With regard to Enter and View, LHW was currently undertaking a recruitment campaign to recruit volunteers as Authorised Representatives to undertake Enter and View.  Enter and View training guidance would shortly be issued by Healthwatch England to progress this action. This item would be brought to the Board at a future date.


The Healthwatch Bracknell Forest Annual Report would be published shortly which would be circulated to the Board in due course. The Board would welcome a regular update on service usage information and Healthwatch agreed to explore how its monitoring information could be made available to the Board for this purpose.

(Action: Healthwatch Bracknell Forest)