Message from Frances Hasler – Healthwatch Camden, Director

Healthwatch Camden has lots of different jobs to do – for example, gathering views, influencing strategic planning, researching experience, recommending improvement and offering information.

At the core of all these functions is the idea that the people who use health and social care services have a key role in shaping those services. So making sure that your feedback really has an impact is at the core of what we do. It really is worthwhile sharing views, and there are lots of ways to do it.

  1. You can give quick feedback on NHS services via the Friends and Family Test. We know from talking to staff in NHS organisations that the bit of the test that staff value most is the comments box – getting comments on why you liked (or did not like) the service really helps.
  2. You can give comments on health or social care services to Healthwatch Camden – via the comments on our blog by email or by phone – or in person if you see our stand when we are out and about.
  3.  You can give comments to the Care Quality Commission. This helps them to monitor the quality of services and to decide which services to prioritise for inspection.
  4. You have a right to complain. It can be hard making a complaint if you have had a bad experience in services. It can be quite emotional thinking about the experience. But it does help to make things better for the future. There is guidance and support on making a complaint

There are also lots of opportunities to contribute to planning of services, through patient groups, user forums, surveys, consultations and so on. You can find news of these opportunities in Healthwatch Camden’s weekly e-bulletin.

To help make sure that all this feedback and input really does make a difference in services, Healthwatch Camden plays the role of ‘critical friend’ in many of the places we go. We check that the voice of people who use services has been listened to. To take this a bit further, we have developed an audit method – our Involvement Audit. We have trialled the audit with two organisations – Camden CCG and Camden & Islington NHS Trust. They have helped us to shape it. Now we are ready to start using it more widely. Look out for more news of the audit, coming soon.