WEARSIDERS can have their say on the way health and social care services are delivered in Sunderland after the creation of a new watchdog.
Healthwatch, which was launched by the Government in April 2013, is now open in Sunderland and aims to champion the voice of the public, in order to influence improvements in both health and social care.
This includes, among other things, GPs, hospitals, domiciliary care, residential care and everything in between.
The team of five staff and volunteers say they want to hear about people’s experiences in any aspect of health and social care, so that services can continually improve.
The group, which is based in High Street West in the city centre, does not advocate on behalf of individuals and staff say they take into consideration all views, so that they can pass on guidance to service providers.
Manager Stephen Thompson, said: “We know that health and social care have so many great staff, but we also know that things can go wrong, that things can be missed and this is where Healthwatch can help and make a real difference.
“But to do this we need to hear the voice of the people of Sunderland.
“Some of our current work includes looking into the quality of care homes; supporting people to have a voice when a GP practise closes; looking into issues around transition from school or college for people with mental health issues; asking about the care of people when they leave hospital; working with the ambulance service to collect stories about people’s experiences, and talking with people about GP support when people are diagnosed with dementia.
Engagement co-ordinator at Healthwatch Sunderland, Joe Hogan, added: “We want to hear about positive experiences as well.
“Where a service is performing well we believe that should be highlighted too. While we are a totally independent body, we want to work in partnership with everyone to improve health and social care services in Sunderland.”
Individuals or groups can contact the team on 514 7145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further details go to www.healthwatchsunderland.com.