Apology to Highgate Day Centre patients issued after Healthwatch Camden report

On 3 August the Camden New Journal online published a story on our Highgate Day Centre – Audio Diary report. In particular highlighting that as a result of our work, health officials offered an apology to service users due to failings in the management of the closure of the service.

The Highgate Day Centre is a service for people with mental health needs in Camden. During 2015-16, the service underwent significant changes, some due to resource constraints and also partly in response to changes in thinking around appropriate models for service delivery.

Healthwatch Camden worked with service users at the Highgate Day Centre to co-design a research project that captured in real time, their lived experiences of the service changes at the Centre. This was done via audio diaries kept over a seven month period by the participants.

The report found that matters could have been handled better by health officials if they had listened and engaged more with patients. For example, the report states that: ‘The audio diaries revealed a clear match between the concerns of current service users identified before the service changes ensued and the risks that emerged as a consequence of the changes. Proper consideration of these early concerns could have informed better decision making by senior management around where to provide additional support and invest in expertise for effective change management.’

As a result of identified failings Camden Council (which commissions the Highgate Day Centre service on behalf of Camden residents) and the Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust (the body that provides mental health services in Camden including The Highgate Day Centre) issued a joint apology to service users.

Healthwatch Camden is here to help give a voice to local people in the delivery of health and social care services. We’re pleased to see results from our efforts which will benefit the local community and in particular those with mental health issues whose voice are not always heard.