#ItStartsWithYou campaign launches in Torbay as NHS hits 70

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To mark the 70th birthday of the National Health Service, local healthcare consumer champion Healthwatch Torbay have released their latest Annual Report and launched a campaign to encourage people to share their experiences and help make healthcare better.

The #ItStartsWithYou campaign – run by national champion Healthwatch England – encourages people to have their say and highlights the difference that people are already making to health and social care services in their community by sharing their experiences.

Healthwatch Torbay have used its Annual Report to celebrate the dedication of local people using their voice to make a difference to care of others. This includes details of special awards given to local residents this year, such as:

  • A Torquay resident who worked ‘tirelessly’ to gather the views of particularly vulnerable members of the public and raise these concerns with Healthwatch Torbay. Her work led to a Care Quality Commission (CQC) investigation into a local domiciliary care company.

  • Baytree Action Group, a group of Torbay parents and carers of loved ones with learning disabilities who worked with Healthwatch Torbay, local health trusts and carers to ensure they were part of a consultation on the potential closure of a learning disabilities unit.

  • A Paignton volunteer who recruited numerous Healthwatch ‘Champions’ this year to gather local healthcare views from the public. He dedicated the award to his late wife, who passed away earlier in the year and encouraged him to volunteer.

In recognition of these dedicated individuals and groups, together with the many thousands more who have contributed over the last year nationally, the #ItStartsWithYou, campaign is designed to highlight the difference people can make by sharing their experiences and to encourage more people to have their say on health and care.

Imelda Redmond, National Director of Healthwatch England, said:

“However big or small the issue, Healthwatch wants to hear about it from you. If it’s important to one person, it’s very likely that it affects other people, too.

“By sharing your story you can help doctors, dentists, hospitals and care homes understand what’s working and what could be better, for you and your community.

“It’s heartening to see a growing culture of people sharing their experiences. It might just feel like your story, but if it matters to you, it matters to us, and it really can make a difference”

In addition to recognising the dedication of local people, Healthwatch Torbay’s 2018 Annual Report details how, over the past year, they have met with hundreds of people at over 50 community events to gather over 650 reviews of local services and over 220 public enquiries, issues or concerns. This includes reaching out to different groups such as older people & the ‘digitally excluded’, carers and young people, and many different local health and social care organisations.

Dr Kevin Dixon

Dr Kevin Dixon, Chair of Healthwatch Torbay, commented:

“When the NHS launched in July 1948 it was the climax of an ambitious plan to bring together lots of different health and care organisations to provide good healthcare to all members of the community.

It is a testament to this plan that 70 years later its ideals continue, in that we work with service users, patients, carers, staff and lots of different healthcare organisations who are all just as dedicated to making the Bay’s health and care provision as good as it can be.

It is vital that this continues, and that our communities continue to tell us what works and does not work well for them. Public involvement through these changing times is crucial and the need for our communities to contribute to proposed decisions about services is absolutely essential.

We implore the people of Torbay to get on board with our campaign and share your health and care stories – good or bad – with us. It really could make a huge difference.”

If you would like to raise any concerns or share your experiences with local health and social care services, please call free on 08000 520 029, email info@healthwatchtorbay.org.uk, or visit www.healthwatchtorbay.org.uk to rate and review a service in confidence online. You can also visit Healthwatch Torbay in person during the week, upstairs at Paignton Library.

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Team account for We Are South Devon.