It Starts With You campaign gives local people a voice
Published: Thursday 29th June 17
The Healthwatch It Starts With You campaign launches on July 3 to encourage people to share their opinions and experiences on health and social care.
It Starts with You is a national campaign to encourage people to engage with their local Healthwatch. Each local authority area has a Healthwatch - a watchdog that gives people a chance to comment on services and help shape the way they are delivered.
In Wandsworth the council commissions registered charity the Wandsworth Care Alliance to run it. Although the service is commissioned by the council, Healthwatch is an independent champion for local people.
Wandsworth Healthwatch runs regular public meetings at which anyone can hear updates on local services, ask questions and feed their thoughts back to service providers. It also inspects services, writes reports and attends community meetings. Recent reports have tackled carers, mental health and hospital care.
This year it has been particularly focused on the standards of care at St George’s Hospital, and on the South West London Sustainability and Transformation Plan which is a plan of how the delivery of healthcare across the region could develop over the next five years.
This year Healthwatch has also been developing its social media presence to engage with young people. It created an Instagram page and a health-focused photo campaign with the hashtag #whatkeepsmewell to encourage young people to think about the things they do and the people in their lives that may help to keep them well, healthy and happy
The council’s health and social care spokesman Cllr Paul Ellis said: “Healthwatch performs a vital service to this borough and its people. It’s a clear, independent voice that helps us and local health services ensure the services we are providing meet residents’needs. For example this year they visited our supported living and extra care homes. They told us that residents felt they received high-quality care and support, but would like staff to talk to them more about their likes, dislikes and interests and we have taken this feedback on board.
“I would urge people to find out more about Healthwatch and what it does and share their experiences, good and bad, with them so that local residents truly have a voice.”