AN ORGANISATION representing the interests of patients and carers in Worcestershire has celebrated its first year.
Healthwatch Worcestershire was set up a year ago and this week held its annual conference looking back over the past 12 months.
Among topics discussed at the event at Sixways on Wednesday, June 25 were the extensive scheme to revamp hospital care in Worcestershire as well as the Well Connected project, which aims to improve links between health bodies in the county.
The organisation’s chairman Peter Pinfield said a number of delegates representing patients, carers and service users attended the event to hear more about the projects.
“This was the first time that these two very important issues have been discussed at a county level in a more public arena,” he said.
“It is essential for us as an independent body to ensure that the public are aware of them and are able to get involved in the decision making process at every opportunity.”
Representatives from the NHS and Worcestershire County Council were also on hand for a question and answer session, prompting debate on a range of issues.
Chief operating officer Simon Adams said it was extremely important for the public to get involved in the organisation’s work.
“Without feedback from people’s experiences, we cannot do our job,” he said.
“We need to build a picture of health and social care services in the county by gathering the views of local people.”
Healthwatch Worcestershire was set up last year after the government scrapped the Local Involvement Networks (LINKs) scheme and is one of a range of similar organisations across the country.
The organisation – which is commissioned by and accountable to Worcestershire County Council – is able to influence how health services are set up thorough the county’s Health and Wellbeing Board and has to power to inspect services.
There is a Healthwatch organisation in every local authority area in the country, overseen by Healthwatch England.
To get involved in Healthwatch Worcestershire visit 01386 550 264 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Future of Acute Hospital Services in Worcestershire project visit www.worcsfuturehospitals.co.uk or to find out more on the Well Connected scheme visit www.hacw.nhs.uk/well-connected.