Healthwatch offering free digital support for those staying at home

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(Last Updated On: April 2, 2020)

Independent health and social care champion Healthwatch Torbay has urged the local public to continue to get in touch with them during the COVID-19 outbreak should they have any issues accessing local healthcare, particularly with digital services.

Although Governmental guidelines have led to the cancellation of engagement events in order to limit social contact, local Healthwatch in Torbay is still receiving public feedback about the health and social care services being used at this difficult time. They are reminding others wanting to share their experience that they can call free during working hours on 08000 520 029, email info@healthwatchtorbay.org.uk, or review services online via www.healthwatchtorbay.org.uk.

Dr Kevin Dixon, Chair of Healthwatch Torbay, said: “We know this is an extremely difficult time, particularly for local healthcare services and the NHS, who are working admirably. With all these essential services facing unprecedented challenges, it is really important that we get your feedback on what is working well or what needs addressing. Your feedback really could help to save lives.

“We will continue working with local voluntary, community, and statutory partners to provide up-to-date health information and advice in order to help protect the public, our staff, volunteers, service users, clients and visitors. This can be found via a dedicated information and advice webpage on our website, and by signing up to our weekly email newsletter”

This regularly updated information page can be found at http://www.healthwatchtorbay.org.uk/information-advice-on-coronavirus-covid-19/.

Before the virus lockdown, Healthwatch Torbay were also leading the award-winning ‘Digital Health Devon’ project, showing the public in Devon how they can use the internet to access useful healthcare tools and resources such as prescription-ordering services and online GP consultation.

They were delivering ‘digital drop in sessions’ at GP Practices and select community venues throughout the county, but have had to postpone these sessions due to the lockdown.

Now their team of volunteer digital trainers – despite being in lockdown at home – have clubbed together to offer digital support for the public remotely, including advice on how to access Governmental and NHS Coronavirus online services.

Anyone interested in receiving this remote support should call free on 08000 520 029 to discuss their query and book a free appointment. A volunteer Digital trainer will then contact you to try and support you with your digital healthcare related query, either over the phone, via email or even via an online video call.
Digital Health Devon have made their online e-learning tool free to access at home via www.digitalhealthdevon.co.uk, which includes a number of useful learning videos and guides on how to access online GP services, self-referral services, and online benefits from home using the internet.

Healthwatch Torbay and Digital Health Devon have also launched an online live webchat feature on their websites – available during working hours – so people can chat live with an adviser about both their healthcare services feedback and any digital healthcare access or IT-related queries.

“We know that accessing health and social care services is a particular challenge at the minute, but with most people staying at home, we want to help people get the support they need more than ever.” Continued Dr Dixon, “This could be a great time for the public to get up to speed on how to get healthcare support digitally from home, so we want to let local people know we are here, ready to help you with this.”

For more information, or to review a local healthcare service, please visit www.healthwatchtorbay.org.ukhttp://www.healthwatchtorbay.org.uk.

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