Healthwatch Torbay Digital Project Set to Expand

(Last Updated On: February 27, 2019)

An award-winning pilot project showing people how to access local health, social care and wellbeing services In Torbay using the internet has been awarded further funding to expand its work in Torbay.

Last year Independent consumer champion Healthwatch Torbay developed a free training and information resource for the public to show them exactly how they can use the internet to access health and social care services such as online appointment-booking, prescription-ordering and self-referral systems. In October 2018 the pilot project in Torbay won a national ‘Highly Commended’ award in the ‘Giving people the advice and information they need’ category at the 2018 National Healthwatch Excellence Awards.

The Healthwatch Torbay Digital Inclusion Project was an Ageing Well Torbay funded project that helps reduce social isolation in older people by showing them exactly how they can use the internet to access health and social care services such as online appointment-booking, prescription-ordering and self-referral systems. Ageing Well Torbay is a 6 year programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund using National Lottery Funding.

Healthwatch Torbay has been successful in its recent funding application to Ageing Well Torbay to develop the project further. This includes adding online benefit advice and other health and social care resources available using the internet that are local to Torbay. They are looking to deliver the training via various different community drop in sessions and even home visits and digital ‘parties’.

They are also redeveloping the training section into a tool which will offer people the chance to complete a free online training course in their own time, from the comfort of their own device and become a community ‘Digital Health Champion’. The new website training will be launched in March 2019.

Pat Harris, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Torbay says: “Our new training will create the tools for people to become more empowered, more confident in using systems online, through a trusted local resource.

I’d like to thank our main project funders, Ageing Well Torbay, for supporting us to do this. Their funding has provided us with a fantastic opportunity to meet the needs that Torbay’s residents were telling us about, and to increase digital inclusion to the over 50s.

We are hoping that through our training services and e-learning tool we can develop a network of digital champions to support the people they know or work with, to be ‘digital health’ friendly.”

If you’re interested in getting involved or helping support the Digital Inclusion Project, please call free on 08000 520 029 or email


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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!