Having Your Say on the NHS

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Explaining why it’s important for people to have their say when it comes to health and social services, Neil Tester, Deputy Director of Healthwatch England says:

‘It was great to be able to mark all the fantastic work of the NHS with 70th birthday celebrations in the Summer. But with a 10-year plan being drawn up for the health service, and Government plans for social care being developed, now is the time to be thinking about the future not the past.

‘At Healthwatch we want to give people a chance to have their say in setting the long-term goals for the country’s hospitals, GPs and care homes. It is our NHS after all, and we need to have these sorts of conversations to establish what we want it to focus on, how it should operate and what role each of us has to play in managing our own health.

‘An optimistic future would see new technology delivering early diagnosis, better monitoring of symptoms, and new insights into the personalisation of care. It could take pressure off the health system, and help people be more in charge of their health and care. But people clearly have concerns about how some of these changes will affect them.

‘The NHS has learnt the hard way that adopting new ideas and approaches without seeking people’s input ends up in costly delays in implementation, and often results in services that don’t quite meet people’s real life needs.

‘This conversation is a chance for us all to make sure the NHS is on the right track.’

Every year the Healthwatch network engages with around half a million people, helping them to find services and working hard to understand their experiences of care, and now, in the 70th year of the NHS, Healthwatch is launching a national conversation to find out more about what people want and expect from hospitals, GPs and care services in the coming decades, hoping set some clear goals for the NHS and social care sector to aim for.

With the NHS currently developing a 10-year plan, and a Government Green Paper on social care imminent, never has there been a better time for the nation to have this conversation.

With these changes happening fast, Healthwatch want more people to share their thoughts to help shape the debate via social media, using #NHS100, or by using the Healthwatch website.

You can also, of course, contact us here at Healthwatch Torbay by calling us free on 08000 520 029, by emailing us at info@healthwatchtorbay.org.uk, or by calling into our office in Paignton’s Library and Information Centre.

Bob Jope

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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!