Award Nomination for Healthwatch Torbay

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Healthwatch Network Awards 2018 shortlist announced

After reviewing over 170 entries, Healthwatch England have are announced all of the finalists for the Healthwatch Network Awards 2018, and it’s great to see that Healthwatch Torbay have yet again been nominated for a prestigious award.

Healthwatch across the country listen to what people like about the NHS and social care and what could be changed. They share these views with professionals, so that services can understand what people and their families want from care. Every year, the awards celebrate positive stories of how local Healthwatch are helping to make care better for thousands of people.

The local Healthwatch shortlisted for 2018 Healthwatch Network Awards were picked from over 170 award entries and the winner from each category will be chosen by a panel of external judges and announced on Wednesday 3 October 2018.

Healthwatch Torbay have been chosen in the ‘Giving people the advice and information they need’ category, ensuring communities get the advice and information they need to make decisions about their wellbeing, care and the services that support them. It’s in response to the tremendous impact made by our ‘Digital Inclusion’ project, designed to train volunteers who will then have the skills to help others get online and use health and social care resources.

Although we’re living in what some call a ‘digital age’, lots of people are unaware of or unable to access health and social care resources on the internet, resources that could have a positive impact on their wellbeing – things like the ability to book a doctor’s appointment, to order a prescription, or to self-refer simply at the click of a button.

With that in mind, Healthwatch Torbay want to help people who are – for whatever reason – ‘digitally excluded’ by providing them with a route to join the online world and access all local digital health and social care resources. To that end we’re delivering a free local programme of online training and support aimed primarily at older people and voluntary community groups.

The project allows one-to-one support to those aged over 50 so that they can receive advice and support in their own home and be shown how to register with local online resources, as well as how to rate and review local services online.

The project was launched with a training session held at Paignton Library for local volunteers who work with the public, so they can pass on this knowledge to the people who’ll benefit most from it, and since then has reached out to people across the Bay.

As Simon Culley, running the project, tells us: ‘Feedback from the public has been very positive, with many commenting that they never realised how quick and easy it was to access healthcare services online and that they ‘can’t believe they haven’t done it before.After sharing our digital inclusion training, we’re discussing the possibility of continued digital working with other local organisations. The training has been so well-received locally that we are also in discussion about an initiative to roll the training out in the wider Devon Community, beyond Torbay.’

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‘These awards recognise the importance of how people’s feedback is vital,’ says Jane Mordue, Chair of Healthwatch England. ‘Thanks to the 341,000 people who shared their experiences with us last year, positive changes have been made to how local health and care services are run. The Healthwatch Network Awards are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our work, highlighting the difference local Healthwatch have made by using this wealth of intelligence to help decision makers target their efforts to make things better.’

If you’re interested in receiving the training or in helping support our Torbay Digital Project, by the way, please call Healthwatch Torbay free on 08000 520 029 or email admin@healthwatchtorbay.org.uk.

Bob Jope Healthwatch Torbay

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(Author)

Apart from five years studying in Oxford I’ve lived most of my life in London where for many years I was Head of English in a prestigious girls’ school, but since taking early retirement and heading West to be nearer to my two daughters - settling in Torbay with my wife, Anna, in 2011 - I’ve worked in the voluntary sector. I took on the role of Service Provider, for example, promoting the Red Cross Torbay Navigators Project, while now I’m a Trustee and part of the Media Team for our local Healthwatch. I’m a governor at Torquay Academy, too, giving me the chance to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of education. Other interests, aside from friends and family, include art and art history, reading - from contemporary fiction and poetry to Elizabethan/Jacobean literature - history, politics, cooking, walking, and music, in particular Bob Dylan, the blues, and early Elvis. I love writing, too, with one novel published so far – Elvis in Wonderland – and another, Who’s There?, that still needs plenty of work!