Healthwatch Dudley is independent and local! We are here to give local people and communities a strong and influential voice in health and care.
Our 2015/16 annual report shares some of the highlights of how we are reaching out to thousands of people, to listen to their views and experiences and how our strong evidence based reports are influencing local decision making. Download our annual report here.
After a busy year, it has been exciting to start our new financial year on a high with being named for two national awards! The Healthwatch England Network Awards took place last month and out of more than 120 entries Healthwatch Dudley was shortlisted in two categories. We were delighted to be presented with a Diversity and Inclusion award for our partnership with Dudley Youth Service to inspire young people to become Dudley Youth Health Researchers.
On presenting our award, Paul Redfern, Senior Community Development Manager at the British Deaf Association said: “Healthwatch Dudley has worked hard to ensure that young people get the chance to help shape local health and social care services. Their young researchers have collected the views of 1,100 other young people, which has provided valuable intelligence to share with health and care professionals and helped the young people involved build on their skills. Congratulations, Healthwatch Dudley.”
We were also received a Highly Commended Health and Social Care Improvement award for involving communities in our activate approach that was developed with Dudley CVS for the All Together Better Partnership.
Find out more about our nominations and about other inspiring stories from across the wider Healthwatch Network.
What makes young people choose to get involved with health and care research? Last spring we teamed up with Dudley Council’s Youth Service to begin a journey to find out.
Our two organisations applied for a Youth Voice grant from NHS England and we were successful in our bid to represent the Midlands and East region.
Over the last year, the Dudley Youth Health Researchers project has brought together 27 young people with a wide range of health and wellbeing experiences. The group has explored issues that matter most to them and has researched the views of over 1100 other young people about their own health and wellbeing.
“As local organisations it was important for us to involve and support young people from across Dudley borough in our core group. We knew that they would have important experiences and fantastic skills to share. We also knew that they would have plenty to say about what gets young people interested in this type of project and what keeps them involved. Our NHS England bid also promised to share our learning across the region and we are looking forward to launching a website about our journey at Healthwatch England’s annual conference in June.”
Individuals were approached and were invited to a residential to help everyone to get to know each other, boost confidence and get thinking about the issues that they would most like to concentrate on as a team.
Young people involved had a wide range of different experiences including disability, living in care or supported accommodation, being a young carer, being home educated having knowledge of life limiting illness or simply being a young person living in Dudley borough.
Most importantly, they all had a common interest of wanting to make a difference but when asked what defined them as a group, Dudley Youth Health Researchers were adamant that they are all unique individuals and should not be put into boxes.
Right from the beginning mental health featured heavily in group discussions and following their residential the group took to the streets to find out if other young people agreed with them before deciding on the following priorities:
• Knowledge of health services available to young people
• Mental health – encompassing:
• Eating disorders and self harm
• Effects of social media on health
• Friendships and relationships
• Services and support after family crisis
Dudley Youth Health Researchers went on to survey the views of 1100 other young people around these issues and their findings will be compiled in a report on their new website.
This phase of the Dudley Youth Health Researchers programme has now come to a close and it has been an important journey for everyone involved. Group members have had some fantastic opportunities, from attending the Manchester NHS Expo, leading regional focus groups with British Youth Forum, leading workshops at the Dudley CCG led Me Festival and presenting at the annual Partners in Paediatrics conference. The latter resulted in an invitation for one of the members to sit on a panel to select a new Chair. Learning from the project was also presented at the NHS Youth Forum conference at Great Ormond Street Hospital last month.
Dudley Youth Health Researcher Megan said: “I think that the skills and information I have developed throughout both the NHS Youth Forum and Dudley Youth Health Researchers will really help me in the future. Whether I want to go into the healthcare industry or I want to be a brain surgeon, the skills such as commitment, communication and confidence will stay with me for the rest of my life and will have a huge positive impact on my future.”
So what are the secret ingredients to successful youth involvement? Dudley Youth Health Researchers shared, “genuinely listen to us, let us make decisions, don’t make promises you can’t keep, treat us with respect, understand our busy lives, support us, find somewhere comfortable for us to meet, give us real opportunities, give us confidence, social activities are important, feed us and make it fun and we will want to get involved!”
How are we involving young people in decision making? Who have we been listening to about health and care? Why are we interested in eye health? How many Information Champions have we trained? What is our proudest achievement?
Every three months we are asked to report to Dudley Council and to decision making boards about our work. We think it is equally important for local people to understand what we do and how we help to give you a louder voice about important decisions that affect your health and wellbeing.
We hope that you will enjoy finding out about our proudest achievements!
Healthwatch Dudley is part of a new local health partnership called All Together Better who want to listen to and learn from local people, about the things that keep communities healthy and well.
Every day local community groups and clubs, social enterprises and voluntary organisations are contributing to people being well, healthy and cared for. Health and social care services in Dudley borough are changing and we have been asked by the All Together Better partnership to arrange a series of interactive listening events.
People who attend will be able to try out activities to unlock some of the hidden knowledge in communities. They will then be able to take away packs to use with people who they know, support or volunteer with.
At these events you will be warmly welcomed and will be able to:
- Meet and talk to people from different groups and organisations
- Find out about some of the planned changes to health and care services and why so much change is happening in Dudley
- Think about and discuss who plays a part in helping people to be well, healthy and cared for locally
- Take part in discussions and give feedback which will be given to decision makers
- Be given an Activity Pack to take away and use with your group or organisation
Activity Packs are designed for you to involve people in Dudley’s ‘biggest ever conversation about health and social care’. They include ways of giving feedback on your ideas, discussions and concerns to Healthwatch Dudley. Everything we hear will be fed back to decision makers in April.
Be in the Know sessions are happening all around Dudley borough including at a People’s Network event!
Wednesday 24 February, 10:00am – 12:00pm The Beacon Centre near Sedgley Register
Monday 29 February, 7:00pm – 9:00pm Talbot Hotel in Stourbridge Register
Tuesday 8 March, 12:30pm – 2:30pm DY1 Community building, Stafford St, Dudley Register
Wednesday 9 March, 10:30am – 1:30pm The People’s Network in Brierley Hill Register
Monday 21 March, 7pm – 9pm Willowfields in Coseley Register
If you can’t make it to an event but would still like to be involved you can still ask for an Activity Pack to work through with people who you know. Contact us to find out more.
All Together Better is a partnership which brings together health and social care organisations to review and shape future health and social care services in Dudley borough. Their aim is to ensure that people receive the best possible care with services that continue to meet future challenges and embrace the opportunities for improvement.
Find out more about All Together Better: www.dudleyccg.nhs.uk/alltogetherbetter @ATBDudley on Twitter.
Healthwatch Dudley is part of Age Alliance in Dudley, an informal partnership which brings together older people and supporting organisations.
Last summer the alliance worked together to listen to older people’s views about loneliness and isolation. Healthwatch Dudley staff and volunteers supported by helping to complete over 450 surveys in supermarkets and town centres. We asked questions about people’s direct experiences of loneliness, isolation and their knowledge of services that offer support.
The work was presented at a conference at Brierley Hill Civic Hall on National Older People’s Day last October, where decision makers listened to older people and made a commitment to including the learning in future work plans.
Following the conference a report has been produced which includes recommendations around better promotion of preventative services, support for carers, communication, bereavement support and the need for more intergenerational work.
This is an important piece of work for Healthwatch Dudley to be involved with as local people’s views and experiences have sat at the heart of the process. We would like to say a big thank you to our volunteers and to Dudley College health and social care students, for supporting us to be involved so fully, from carrying out interviews, to ensuring the data was entered quickly and accurately. We would also like recognise the time and energy that fellow members of Age Alliance, many who are volunteers themselves, have given to leading on this research.
We are delighted to share the full report ahead of its official launch in February by the Mayor of Dudley which can be downloaded here.
You will still be able to find us in Brierley Hill but as our new Dudley office is in the same building as a fantastic community cafe, we thought it would be a perfect place to host weekly Healthwatch Dudley drop-in sessions.
Every Friday morning between 9.30am and 12 noon, staff will be on hand at the Lunch on the Run Cafe @ dy1, to listen to your views and experiences, or to point you in the right direction with information about local health and care services.
And on the first and third Friday of every month (from 2nd October) we have teamed up with the Dudley CVS Carer Co-ordinator and Dudley Carers Network to host Tea and Chat for Carers. These informal drop in sessions are for carers to meet each other and to find support from local organisations. Click here to download a flyer.
You can find us at dy1, Stafford Street, Dudley DY1 1RT or get in touch for more information.
We have teamed up with Saltwells Nature Reserve and Dudley Carers Co-ordinators to host a new event for local carers.
Our first Saltwells Carers Amble took place in August and we had a great turnout from local carers and the people who they support.
Dudley borough carers were invited to join us for a gentle amble through accessible woodland trails, take some time out for themselves or bring along the person who they care for, to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and sculpture trail. During the walk staff from local organisations were on hand to give information about local services that carers can tap into.
We have been asked to make the amble a regular event and have planned for walks to take place on the second Thursday of each month. Meet up is at 12.30pm on the nature reserve car park on Saltwells Lane, DY5 1AX. Click here for directions.
You will get the chance to meet and chat with other carers and people will be on hand from local services to discuss help available in Dudley borough. The route is not demanding, is generally flat and everyone is welcome.
The stroll will end with a pub lunch at 1.30pm at the Saltwells Inn where there is a full menu or carvery starting from £3.99. No need to book, just turn up.
Healthwatch Dudley is your champion for health and wellbeing.
We listen to what you have got to say and share your experiences with people who make important decisions about health and care services in Dudley borough. Every year we produce a report which highlights how we have been making a difference and we are delighted to share our 2014/15 annual report. Download a copy of our report here or contact us for more information. We would love to hear what you think!