Kelly's Meeting with Medway Healthwatch

Kelly Tolhurst and Heidi ButcherKelly and Cllr Andrew Mackness met up with Medway Healthwatch on today to discuss important NHS issues that matter to local people. The organisation plays a key role in ensuring our community's experiences and opinions of Health and Social Care are not only listened to but acted on.

They discussed local people's views to help ensure the work that Kelly has been carrying out, to support the hospital coming out of special measures delivers results.

After the meeting Cllr Mackness said - “Healthwatch play a key role in ensuring our communities experiences and opinions with Health and Social care are not only listened to but acted on. As the Chairman of Medway’s Health and Wellbeing board Healthwatch are vital to the improvement of our services in such a challenging time. I am proud to be Medway’s first Healthwatch Ambassador and look forward to my colleagues embracing this important innovation.

Kelly said - ”The Healthwatch team have been instrumental in representing the views of our community, to help ensure the work I have been carrying out, to support the hospital coming out of special measures delivers results. I look forward to helping them develop as a key service in the future.

So who is Healthwatch Medway - Heidi Butcher, Engagement & Communications Officer explains:

Healthwatch England was established under the 2012 Health & Social Care Act which took effect in April 2013. Local authorities have a statutory duty to work alongside Healthwatch and today there are just over 150 local Healthwatch’s across the country. Healthwatch Medway is the independent consumer champion within Medway for all Children’s, Young Peoples and Adults ‘Health and Social Care’ services.

The aim of Healthwatch Medway is to give citizens and communities a stronger voice to influence and challenge how health & social care services are provided within their locality. We understand from what we have been told that it can be a difficult, frustrating and complicated process getting their voice heard when it comes to health & social care services, by involving Healthwatch Medway we are able to take the public’s experiences good and bad, including ideas straight to the ears of Medway’s decision makers.

Healthwatch Medway is a member of Medway Council’s Children & Young peoples, Health & Adult Social Care Overview & Scrutiny Committees as well as Medway’s Health & Wellbeing board. We meet regularly with local CQC and CCG groups ensuring current trends are identified, sharing local intelligence, assisting with commissioning consultations all using direct consumer experiences.

Because we cover all Health & Social Care within Medway our contact base is huge, this enables us to offer a fantastic Information & Signposting Service which cuts through the often confusing process of trying to find the right up to date service involving just one call or email.

The potential of Healthwatch within Medway is huge. We want every Medway citizen who uses local services to know who we are, what we do and how easy it is to make contact with us, either face to face through our local engagement events, our social media forums or our Information & Signposting service. Having a Healthwatch Medway Ambassador in every ward, representing every group is our ambitious aim.

We have approached all 55 local Councillors as Improving the health and wellbeing of local people through joint working with services is one of a local Cllr’s many responsibilities. The next stage will be identifying and then recruiting through awareness sessions Ambassadors within the Health & Social Care workforce and we have already identified many.