Message from Frances Hasler, Healthwatch Camden Director

We’ve reached our two year anniversary, and just published our second annual report, showing what we’ve achieved over the two years.  

We’ve worked really hard to become a valuable voice in health and social care in Camden. We’ve worked with many local organisations and met local people at numerous community events.

An example of our achievements is the Healthwatch Camden report ‘Food and catering at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) – experiences of patients and their families’. Criticism of the quality of food offered to patients at GOSH prompted us to use our statutory powers of ‘enter and view’ to investigate how well the current catering services at GOSH are meeting patients’ needs and preferences. As a result of our report GOSH reviewed its food service and implemented positive changes. See more on this in our annual report.

Another group of people we talked to are people living with HIV/AIDS. A key point was that people get bounced back and forth between specialist HIV services and the services that are not specific to HIV/AIDS (like GPs and mental health services). We heard that the services they use need to be joined up. We shared our research findings, along with specific recommendations with the relevant bodies in Camden.  Jonathan O’Sullivan, Assistant Director of Public Health in Camden said the report was ‘welcome and timely’.

We also collaborated with Voluntary Action Camden and Camden and Islington NHS Trust to hold a ‘summit’ event, bringing services users, providers, commissioners and campaigners together to talk about issues in mental health for Black Minority Ethnic and Refugee people in Camden. The event resulted in the setting up of a men’s group for services users, and to continuing work at the Trust to engage Black men in accessing crisis services.

Another highlight is that at the Healthwatch Network Annual Conference 2015 awards ceremony, Healthwatch Camden won ‘Highly Commended’ for our children’s services work. See the report here. Our joint work on BSL enter and view training won two first prizes – for local Healthwatch working together and for equality and diversity. You can find out more here.  

We’re making a difference in the local community. A big thank you to all the people who’ve worked with us over the past two years. We look forward to meeting you in the community over the coming weeks. We’re going into our third year feeling optimistic and strong!