Author Archives: Healthwatch Dudley

Tackling COVID-19 together

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It is caused by a type of coronavirus. By working together we can help to stop the spread of this disease.

Find out about symptoms, who is at risk and how to protect yourself with the latest NHS information and keep up to date with the latest government guidance.

Take our snap survey:

Your local NHS is changing and it needs your help

The Government is investing an extra £20 billion a year in the NHS. Help your local NHS invest in the right support by sharing your ideas and experiences. #WhatWouldYouDo

With growing pressure on the NHS – an ageing population, more people living with long-term conditions, lifestyle choices affecting people’s health – changes are needed to make sure everybody gets the support they need.

The Government is investing an extra £20bn a year in the NHS. The NHS has produced a Long Term Plan, setting out all the things it wants health services to do better for people across the country. This includes: making it easier for people to access support closer to home and via technology, doing more to help people stay well, and providing better support for people with long-term health conditions.

But whilst the national plan has set some clear goals, it’s up to local areas to decide how they’re achieved. Now it’s time for people to have their say and help shape what the delivery of the plan should look like in their communities.

Independent health charity The Kings Fund has produced a helpful guide to understanding the Long Term Plan which can be downloaded here.

We have been listening to your views though our online surveys, focus groups and local events where we asked:

  • What would you do to give people more control of their care?
    – What your local NHS could do to help your community stay well and to make local services better.
  • What would you do to give people better support?
    – You to share your experiences of support for cancer, mental health conditions, heart and lung diseases, long-term conditions such as diabetes and arthritis, learning disabilities, autism, and dementia, and what could make care better.

Healthwatch Dudley has agreed to take on a coordinating role to compile people’s views from across the Black Country and West Birmingham Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) area.  Our final report will influence how the NHS Long Term Plan will be delivered locally.

Let’s talk about self care

Healthwatch Dudley is working with Dudley CCG and Dudley Public Health to find out what local people think and feel about the important topic of self care.  At the beginning of our journey we asked for your help with creating a pack that could kick start lots more conversations  – and here it is!

Self pack cover

Now it’s over to you again.  We would like you to use the pack to chat with people who you know about mental wellbeing, minor ailments, caring, long term conditions or the roles that professionals play in our health and wellbeing.

You can choose one, more or all of these themes, all we ask is that you feed back to us what you talked about so that your thoughts and ideas can help to shape a new self care strategy for Dudley borough.

Download your pack here or get in touch and we can get a printed copy sent out to you.

Then put the kettle on and let’s get talking about self care!

Please let us keep in touch

Create your own user feedback survey

Healthwatch Dudley annual report 2016/17

Healthwatch Dudley Annual report 2016-17 cover

Healthwatch Dudley is award winning!

Healthwatch Dudley is independent and local! We are here to give local people and communities a strong and influential voice in health and care.

Healthwatch Dudley Annual report 2015-16 CoverOur 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.”

Making your voice countWe 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 are the secret ingredients to successful youth involvement: Dudley Youth Health Researchers, our journey…

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.

Group meeting

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.”

ResidentialDudley Youth Health Researchers fist came together last year after we contacted other organisations who support local young people, to ask if they could put group members forward.

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.

Street surveysRight 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.

Me Festival questionnairesThis 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.

Youth Voice DudleyDudley 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.”

Me FestivalSo 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!”

Group with certificates