Healthwatch Walsall works to ensure that local people’s views help shape health and social care services in Walsall, so that they meet everyone’s needs. We bring public engagement, consultation and complaint advocacy services together as part of a single organisation. We also provide evidence-based feedback to help improve local health and social care services.
We work closely with the Care Quality Commission and are backed up by a national body, Healthwatch England. Our work can help to make a difference at both the local and national level.
We are working on a number of projects and special investigations that have been brought to our attention from the information we receive from you when out and about in the community.
Our community engagement officers travel around the County to gather views and experience of local service users, the public, carers and the wider community. We do this in order to make these views known to improve local and national services.
Work Group Activity
We are making good progress through our Work Groups on key issues which have been flagged up by the Walsall community as being the areas of greatest concern:
We have developed a new patient questionnaire based on surveys carried out by other Healthwatch. We are planning to carry this out across all GP practices in Walsall during September alongside an audit of GP Premises to review accessibility and patient facilities.
Discharge from Hospital
An Executive Summary of this 128 page report has been issued for discussion with Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, Walsall Council Adult Social Care and Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group to discuss our findings and recommendations. The final report is planned for public launch in September as well as presenting it to the Health and Wellbeing Board in October.
Social Care Group
We have worked alongside Commissioners and CQC to help identify a number of care homes which are to be inspected shortly as part of our Enter and View programme.
Almost 500 surveys from the public across Walsall have been collected. These are being analysed to help inform the work of this group and a findings report about Obesity and the challenge for Walsall is to be issued.
Accident and Emergency Services
The group were given an accompanied tour of the Accident & Emergency Unit at the Manor Hospital to help inform the work of this group this is to be followed up by an unannounced Enter & View visit of A & E and Ward 29 (specialist Dementia Ward). We are also developing a survey to gather people’s experiences of this service.
The group acknowledges that whilst there are performance issues in A & E, these should be viewed in the context of wider problems caused by increased patient numbers, availability of GP appointments, bed blocking and discharge. Work has been commissioned through partners and our own engagement to gather patient experiences.
Hospital Intelligence Group
The Assembly has set up a Hospital Intelligence Group to gather up to date information about people’s experiences of all hospital and community services. This was supplemented by an extensive Listening Exercise that Healthwatch Walsall commissioned to give opportunities in every Area Partnership for people to have their say. We also tasked our Engagement Team to consult with our Partner Network to get the views of people and groups that would not normally be heard. This included groups such as Walsall Service Users Empowerment (representing mental health), Midland Mencap for Learning Disabilities, Walsall Disability Forum and the Deaf Centre, British Muslim Youth Group, Walsall Voluntary Action, Sure Start Palfrey, Walsall Blind Association, and Collingwood Autism Support Group.
Healthwatch Walsall fed this data into the CQC inspection carried out in early September at Walsall Healthcare and was gratefully received by CQC to help inform their key lines of enquiry.
We will be undertaking unannounced visits to the hospital to gain insight for our work based on the intelligence gathered by this group. One of the group also sits on Walsall Healthcare’s Complaints Committee.