Helping improve health services

Claire Fisher introduces Enfield’s independent consumer champion for health and social care

Healthwatch EnfieldEven if you’ve never heard of us, chances are you’ve unknowingly benefited from some of our work at some point over the last five years.

Here at Healthwatch Enfield, we help improve local health and social care services by listening to the people who use them – that’s you! – and negotiating with those who run them to ensure improvements are made using your feedback.

Our work covers more than 420 local services including NHS hospitals, mental health services, pharmacies, doctor’s surgeries, opticians, dentists, and care homes. It involves anything from building a case to improve a service, to helping to spread the word about a new service or potential changes to services that may affect you.

At our busy office in Edmonton we have a small team of dedicated staff and volunteers, where we run an information line, produce jargon busting leaflets, newsletters, surveys, reports, and plan pop-up events and focus groups across the borough.

We use your feedback to submit formal reports that represent your concerns, frustrations, and suggestions to leaders and commissioners of services. Because we are a statutory body, created by the government’s Health and Social Care Act 2012, they must respond to our reports and clearly explain how they will address any of the issues raised.

We have found that services usually positively engage with your feedback and implement most of the recommendations that you suggest. For example, last year North Middlesex University Hospital upheld five recommendations to improve emergency services for disabled patients visiting their accident and emergency department, including a disability mentoring programme for reception staff. We also helped secure four extra emergency ambulances across the borough

All those surveys really do get read – and change does happen. Right now we are working with some local GP practices to improve patients’ experience of booking doctor’s appointments. We would like to hear your views about it so we can highlight problems as well as put forward any examples of systems that are working well.

As a founding member of Enfield Dispatch we are delighted to now have a regular column in this newspaper and we look forward to sharing more news and information with you about health and social care in Enfield.

Complete the survey on local GP services:
Visit smartsurvey.com/s/EnfieldGP

If you are not sure where to get help for the care you need or how to make a complaint, get in touch with Healthwatch Enfield:
Call 020 8373 6283
Email info@healthwatchenfield.co.uk
Facebook /healthwatchenfield
Skype info_580331
Text 07376 550 116
Tweet @HealthwatchEnf
Visit healthwatchenfield.co.uk