People's Network logo - mages include brightly coloured hands and a pink bird

The People’s Network was a successful series of meetings that allowed local people to:
  • Network in a positive way with people who have similar interests in social care
  • Have discussions and share knowledge about local services
  • Inform policies and influence what local services look like
  • Have real opportunities to feed back to decision makers
  • Test the accuracy and readability of public documents before they go live
  • Bring and share powerful stories, journeys and experiences
As a result of the pandemic, the People’s Network was temporarily moved online.  Due to staffing and contract uncertainty, the meetings were then paused.  As we move forward with the new contract and our new team, we are looking at how the ICB-initiated Peoples Panels can work for all of us and how responsibility for these can be more equally shared across the newly formed Dudley Engagement Group.
Follow us on social media and sign up to our mailing list for future updates on how Healthwatch Dudley will be engaging with the wider community.
If you would like to get involved with us sooner, please contact us to share your experiences with health and social care or to enquire about volunteering opportunities.

People's Network All Together Better ActivityPast People’s Network events…

April 2021 Help shape the future of online access to adult social care services in Dudley Borough

The way people access adult social care services in Dudley borough is changing and we want you to be part of the journey.

New online portals are being developed to help people with Internet access, quickly and easily find the information they need.

Perhaps you have needed to call the Dudley Council adult social care access team to:

  • Find a care home for a loved one
  • Get information about equipment or adaptations to help someone to live more independently at home
  • Get help with daily tasks such as dressing, cooking or going shopping
  • Arrange an assessment for yourself as a carer or for someone who has care and support needs
  • Get information about financial assessments and contributions for packages of care
  • Find out about community alarms or other Telecare services
  • Tell someone about a concern that has led to a safeguarding referral

Enabling people to easily find information and refer into services themselves online, should mean shorter waiting times as you will be able to find out about and register for services and get help and support at a time that best suits you.

Online portals will also free up the Access to Adult Social Care telephone team to deal with more complex queries.

The telephone service will remain for people who do not have Internet access.

We want to help to make sure that the new system is simple to navigate, is accessible and uses clear language that is easy to understand

At our April People’s Network,  Dudley Council:

  • Shared their vision of what a new online portal can do.
  • Showed us some examples of systems that are being used by other local authorites.
  • Explained what council officers need the new system to be able to do.
  • Listened to your feedback and ideas, to make sure that the new online portals work for everyone who needs to use them and put local people at the centre – right from the beginning of the journey.

Your views, experience and ideas are helping to make sure that the new Dudley adult social care online portal works for communities.  

Help shape the future of online access to adult social care services in Dudley borough. Take part in our People's Network. Thursday 15 April 2021. 10.30am - 12.30pm. Book your free place: or call Healthwatch Dudley: 03000 111 001. Text next to image of colourful hands.

January 2021  – Our Hospital, Our Care #OurFuture – Help shape the future of Dudley borough hospital services

For our January People’s Network we teamed up with The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust for a friendly online conversation about the future of local hospital and community health services.

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust provides hospital services from Russells Hall Hospital and Guest Outpatient Centre in Dudley and Corbett Outpatient Centre in Stourbridge.  The Trust also provides a wide range of community services such as district nursing, continence services, diabetes support, podiatry and physiotherapy, in people’s homes and from a variety of different locations across Dudley borough.

Plans are being made for the coming five years and the Trust wanted to ask:

  • What do you think works well at the moment?
  • Where do you see gaps?
  • What would make things better?
  • What would you like to see going forward?
  • What are priorities for you?

During the event participants also heard from two senior doctors working on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Trust is committed to ensuring that its planning is influenced by the communities it serves and feedback from this event will inform its five year strategy.

Download the report

August 2020  – Adult Social Care and You #BecauseWeAllCare

As the country responds to COVID-19, we asked you to share your experiences of local adult social care services during the pandemic.
Picture of a person in a wheelchair taking to a standing person with quotes saying: Almost three quarters of people say they have noticed changes in their health and social care during the coronavirus emergency. #BecauseWeAllCare

For our August People’s Network we teamed up with Dudley Council for a friendly online conversation to ask:

  • Have you been shielding during the pandemic? What has worked well for you with your care and support needs?
  • Have you been looking after someone who receives support at home from paid carers? Have you noticed a difference?
  • Do you have a friend or a relative who lives in a local care home?How have you been keeping in touch?
  • Do you have a disability or care for someone who has? Have you been able to get the support you need during the COVID-19 emergency?
  • Do you use an alarm or other telecare services provided by Dudley Council? What was your experience during lockdown?
  • Have you, or a family member been discharged from hospital during the pandemic and needed extra care or support? Has this worked?
  • Have you had to go out to work when someone else in your household has been shielding? How has this felt?

Recommendations contained in our report produced from this event have been shared with service leads to aid learning and to influence future service delivery.

Download the report

May 2020  – People’s Network & Dudley Healthcare Forum Joint Online Event.  COVID-19 Impacts on Health & Care

People's Network & Dudley Healthcare Forum Online event logoHealthwatch Dudley, Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group and Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS joined forces to host an online forum in response to not being able to meet face to face during the COVID-19 pandemic.  46 people from local communities, health and care settings and voluntary organisations came together as part of a 90-minute Zoom session, to share views and ideas on how they had been accessing services and what the future of health and care in the Dudley borough might look like.

Recommendations contained in our report produced from this event will help to inform local NHS restoration, reset and recovery plans.  

Download the report

February 2020  – Help shape local hospital services

Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust runs Russells Hall Hospital and Guest and Corbett outpatient centres, it also provides community health services to the borough.

The Trust is looking for local people to join patient panels and groups that will:

  • Provide feedback about healthcare
  • Help identify priorities
  • Actively involve people in the redesign of services such as the Russells Hall hospital Emergency Department.
  • Capture public views on a wide range of other topics

The NHS states that services shaped by people, especially those with lived experience, are more likely to result in better outcomes.  Our event explored:

  • How patient panels make a difference
  • The types of panels needed and what they might look like
  • Who should be involved to make sure that our local health services accurately meet the needs our local communities
  • How people can sign up.

September 2019  – Let’s talk about Adult Social Care 

Every year Dudley Council invites local people to contribute to their annual report of adult social care. This report is also called a Local Account and gives an overview of progress together with an outline of future plan for improvement.

At this event invited people to find out how to access local services, give feedback on the Dudley adult social care annual report and to share their ideas for making care and support better for everyone.

Ideas and feedback from this event contributed to the 2018/19 report.

Participants were invited to:

  • Find out about local adult social care and how to get support
  • Hear from people who plan and provide local services
  • Browse our information market place of local support
  • Share experiences and ideas to improve the future of adult social care
  • Hear from Dudley’s Community Reporters and find out how to get involved
  • Meet other local people and enjoy a complementary lunch!

Take a look at the 2017/18 Dudley Local Account here

April 2019  – Have your say on NHS services

The NHS is changing at it needs your help #WhatWouldYouDo

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.

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.

During the event we captured views about what the Long Term Plan says it wants the NHS to do better, including:

  • Making it easier for people to access support closer to home and via technology
  • Doing more to help people stay well
  • Providing better support for people with cancer, mental health conditions, heart and lung diseases, long-term conditions, such as diabetes and arthritis, learning disabilities and autism, and for people as they get older and experience conditions such as dementia.

Ahead of the event participants were invited to tell us how NHS services in Dudley borough should change via an online survey asking:

  • What you would do to give people more control of their care:  Tell uswhat your local NHS can do to help your community stay well and to make local services better.
  • What you would do to give people better support: Tell us about 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.

Views shared during this event and through wider engagement across the Black Country and West Birmingham STP area are being used to inform local delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Innovations in Pharmacy – How are they working for you? (May 2018)

People are using new pharmacy services through GP practices to help them with their healthcare, medicine use and getting prescriptions. Our May People’s Network was split into two sessions where participants were invited to join us for one or both of them.

Morning session: Practice-Based Pharmacy

All GP practices now have direct access to pharmacists who can help
with health and the way that medicines are used. This is called Practice-Based Pharmacy. We asked if people have used this service at their doctor’s surgery, what people think and has it made a difference.

Afternoon session: Prescription Ordering Direct

After lunch we invited people to talk about a service that allows you to order your prescriptions and get medicines advice over the telephone. This service is called Prescription Ordering Direct – or POD and helps people who do not use the internet and may struggle to get to their practice to order prescriptions.

POD is available in the following surgeries: LINKS Medical Practice, AW Surgeries, Halesowen Medical Practice, High Oak Surgery, Wordsley Green Health Centre, Three Villages Medical Practice, Waterfront Surgery and Central Clinic.

We invited people who are registered with one of these surgeries and use Prescription Ordering Direct to invite you to join us and share their experiences.

The conversations that took place will contribute to a report about pharmacy services for Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group.

Your view on adult mental health assessment services (March 2018)

Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust launched their new 24-hour Assessment Service in May last year and Healthwatch Dudley was asked by the Trust to find out what people think.

We invited people who have tried to get, or received help with their mental health in the last two years by asking the following question,  “perhaps you were in crisis, felt anxious, depressed or just knew that something wasn’t right?”

During this event people were asked to share:

  • Did the system work for you when you tried to get help?
  • If you needed urgent help did you get a timely response?
  • Did you feel listened to and cared for while you were being referred to other services?
  • Do you think that the new 24-hour Assessment Service is making a difference to you or the people you care for?

People’s Network events are usually for everyone but this special event was only open to people who access services provided by Dudley and Walsall Mental Health NHS Partnership Trust and the people who support them in an unpaid capacity.  A report is currently being compiled for the Trust.

MCP Update – Find out about important changes to health and care services (March 2018)  

Plans are underway to transform health and care in Dudley borough.  Find out what this might mean for Dudley and join the conversation.

What’s happening? 

Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been working with partners to redesign health and social care  across Dudley borough.

A Multi-Specialty Community Provider (MCP) is one way suggested by the NHS to develop local services and Dudley was chosen as one of the first areas to introduce this new approach.  Over the last three years Dudley CCG has been working on this and is in the process of identifying a new organisation that will join up some physical health, mental health, social care and voluntary sector services in Dudley borough.

At the event…

Members of the MCP bidding team (a partnership between Dudley GPs, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust) were on hand to:

  • Explain what type of organisation the proposed MCP will be
  • Bring you up to date with the journey so far
  • Describe how the proposed new clinical model will be different
  • Detail the services that will be included
  • Discuss any changes
  • Share next steps and plans moving forward
  • Listen to feedback and answer questions

The bidders are required to make their final submission by 23rd April 2018 and are very keen to include your views in the development of their plans.

What is Dudley CCG?

Dudley CCG is part of the NHS and is responsible for planning and paying for all of the local health services with a £458 million budget that it receives from central government.

Find out more:

Dudley CCG launched a formal public consultation took place in 2016 to help shape the development of the ‘Multi-Specialty Community Provider’ (MCP).  You can find more information about this here: and get up to date information about the procurement process here:

Let’s talk about dementia (November 2017)

The vision for Dudley borough is for it to be a place where people with dementia and those who care about them can receive the right services, in the right place, for the right need and in a timely, responsive and non-discriminatory way.

At our November People’s Network we talked about dementia, the support that people in Dudley can access and what this should look like as the needs of our society change and grow.

The event explored:

  • Local services that support people with dementia and the people who care about them
  • How local people are living with dementia related conditions
  • The Dudley Dementia Pathway, what it is and future plans
  • Dementia Friends, the important work they do and how to sign up
  • Dudley Dementia Action Alliance and how you can get involved
  • Working together to make Dudley a Dementia Friendly Community

Pharmacy and Me (September 2017)

Big changes are happening in health and care services and pharmacy is no exception.  At our September People’s Network event, Dudley Public Health Pharmaceutical Team joined us to:

  • Give an update on a new Dudley policy which includes changes to prescriptions and medicines
  • Inform us about what will no longer be available on prescription and why (find out more here)
  • Dispel some myths about why the changes are happening
  • Tell us about Pharmacy First – a minor ailments scheme available in local chemists
  • Introduce POD the new Prescription Ordering Direct scheme for Dudley borough

At this event members of the People’s Network were invited to take part in an important discussion about how we use chemists, what works well for us and what improvements we would like to see in the future. 

Our conversations contributed to a review of pharmacy services in Dudley borough.

Experiences of receiving Care at Home services in Dudley borough (July 2017)
Dudley Council commissioners have contracts with Care at Home providers for 18,000 hours of home care each week. We were asked if we could bring people together to meet decision makers to listen and learn from their experiences, ideas and suggestions about how future Care at Home services are planned and provided.

At this event the People’s Network:

  • Talked about what is good and what is working well with Care at Home
  • Shared ideas about what could be improved
  • Met people who make decisions about Care at Home services

Creating a health and wellbeing plan for Dudley borough (September 2016, March and August 2017
Home life, family and our experiences all have a big impact on our health and wellbeing – but what does this mean for people who plan health and care services?

Dudley Health and Wellbeing Board asked the People’s Network to help them identify and set priorities for the future.

People discussed:

  • The things that keep them and the people they care for healthy and well
  • What services they really value and what is good about them
  • Any gaps they have experienced in local health or care and what services they would like to be able to access in the future
  • Health and Wellbeing Board priorities of: reducing loneliness and isolation, promoting healthy weight and reducing the impact of poverty
  • Their own priorities, what organisations should do, what local people should do and what can be done together

The conversations that took place helped to steer a Health and Wellbeing Board development session and are helping to shape the new plan.

What is the Health and Wellbeing Board?

The Dudley Health & Wellbeing Board is responsible for the health and wellbeing of all residents in Dudley borough.  Using local evidence, it works to help identify the needs of local residents, improve efficiency, secure better care to improve health and wellbeing as well as tackle health inequalities across the borough.

The Power of Peer Support – Supporting each other through similar experiences (May 2017)

Peer support is people power! It happens when people come together to share skills or to discuss their experience of an important issue, illness or health condition or by giving each other emotional support.

At our May event we:

  • Introduced people to local groups who are already supporting each other
  • Shared some of the benefits of peer support and talked about the challenges
  • Discussed the types of peer support groups people would like to attend and their availability locally
  • Conversations were fed into an event that took place the following day in Dudley, where voluntary and community groups explored how local decision makers can better support  improve health and wellbeing as well as tackle health inequalities across the borough.

Looking after ourselves together (November 2016)

To celebrate Self Care Week our November event shone another spotlight on local health and wellbeing services.

The network was invited to come together to find out about local service that keep us healthy and well, meet some of the people who deliver them and share experiences of accessing health and care services in Dudley borough.

Our event involved guest speakers and a market place to share information about local services that can help us to take care of ourselves and each other.

Have your say on important local health and care service changes. (August 2016)

Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been working with partners to redesign health, social care and voluntary sector services across Dudley borough. A new way of working is being planned that will join up physical health, mental health, social care and voluntary sector services through the development of GP practice based teams.

A formal public consultation was launched in July on how a new ‘Multi-Specialty Community Provider’ (MCP) is being developed to deliver services that are currently provided by GP practices, nurses, community health and mental health services, community based services such as physiotherapy teams, relevant hospital specialists and others who provide care in the community.

Healthwatch Dudley invited people from Dudley CCG to explain what is being proposed and there was a question and answers session so that views could be shared  to influence how the new Dudley MCP will be organised.

What is Dudley CCG?

Dudley CCG is part of the NHS and is responsible for planning and paying for all of the local health services with a £458 million budget that it receives from central government.

Find out more:

Watch the short film made by Dudley CCG to explain more about the MCP and their public consultation:

What does dignity mean to you? (July 2016)

Dignity can mean different things to different people.It can be about respect, privacy, autonomy and self-worth and being treated as an individual.

It can be hard to explain what dignity is, however you will probably know when you haven’t been treated with it.

At our July event, we invited guest speakers to share what dignity means to them and everyone took part in group discussions, shared personal experiences and views that will influence an new dignity pledge for Dudley borough.

Spotlight on local services (May 2016)
You asked for another ‘spotlight’ event as you enjoyed finding out information in our marketplace and hearing about local support services.  Our guest speakers shared information about diabetes, mental health support and managing health conditions.  Spotlight events are a great place for people to share their own experiences of health and care and we were delighted that so many people took part.

People's Network May 2016

People's Network May 16 Diabetes UK guest speakerPeople's Network May 16 marketplace

All Together Better! (March 2016)

For our March event we sent out an invitation to take part in Dudley’s ‘biggest ever conversation about health and social care’.  We asked the question, “What does being well, healthy and cared for mean?” and shared ideas about how communities are coming together in creative ways to improve their health and wellbeing.

People's Network All Togetether Better

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: @ATBDudley on Twitter.

Listening to your views of mental health services (January 2016)
People's Network Mental Health

Mental health was the focus of our January People’s Network as this important issue had been discussed at every People’s Network event and tied in with an upcoming Care Quality Commission Inspection of Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust.

The event included guest speakers from local services including Dudley Mind, Rethink, Dudley Counselling Centre and the Exboozehound group for men.  Following this a discussion took place about how safe, effective, caring, well led and responsive attendees find local mental health services to be.

Feedback from the day was anonymised and shared with the Care Quality Commission to inform their inspection report which can be viewed here.

A spotlight on services supporting adult social care (November 2015)

People's Network Guest SpeakersThe People’s Network asked for more information about adult social care services and the charities and organisations that support and complement the Dudley Council offer.

The November People’s Network provided a marketplace for services and groups to showcase what they do.  Lots of networking took place and guest speakers shared how they are supporting vulnerable people by sharing case studies and stories from people who access their services.

Sharing views and setting the agenda (September 2015)

People's Network ActivityOur September People’s Network gave participants the chance to feed back to decision makers about what they felt priorities were for adult social care in Dudley borough.

The themes for the next two people’s network events were also set.


Shaping the future for unpaid carers (July 2015)

Our July People’s Network focussed on people who care for a friend or family member or support someone who does. The conversations that took place were shared with the Carers Alliance and will help to shape the the future of support for carers in Dudley borough through a new carers strategy.

Information and technology (May 2015)

Our May People’s Network included presentations, workshops and discussions about how technology is supporting information giving in Dudley borough. The event included presentation about Community Information Points and Champions, Telecare and Dudley Community Information Directory.  Participants were also invited to test a new website that can be used to order social care products to make life easier for local people.

Introducing the People’s Network! (March 2015)

The group of people who shared their views about the Local account have decided to grow their group into the new People’s Network for people who are passionate about adult social care in Dudley borough.

The People’s Network is a new place to:

  • Network with positive people with similar interests in adult social care
  • Have discussions and share knowledge about local services
  • Inform policies and influence how what local services look like
  • Have real opportunities to feed back to decision makers
  • Test the accuracy and readability of public documents before they go live
  • Bring and share powerful stories, journeys and experiences

A launch event took place on 11th of March between 11am & 1.30pm where people were invited to plan the focus of the next two network events.

The network is for people who access or provide services or those who care for people who do.  Everyone is welcome.

Download more information

Healthwatch Dudley is passionate about making sure that local voices are listened to by people who make decisions about health and social care.

We have been working closely with Dudley Council to ensure that local people’s views are taken into account as they produce their adult social care annual report (or local account). This is part of Dudley’s commitment to Making it Real and putting local people at the centre of the care and support services they receive read more and sign up to Making it Real in Dudley bulletins here

Photograph of some of the local account group membersOur involvement in the Local Account sees that a diverse range of views are represented and that the final report is fair and balanced.  This has been achieved through a series of joint workshops attended by local people and the 2013/14 report is in the process of being produced. click here to view the 2012/13 report