July 28, 2014
Review centre can improve health care choiceA NEW online review centre for health and social care services can help improve patient choice in Staffordshire, it has been claimed.
The Experience Exchange provides the chance to leave an opinion on everything from hospitals, hospices and residential homes to GP surgeries, dentists and opticians.
The platform, developed by consumer champions Healthwatch Staffordshire, also contains important information about services in the county.
And Craig Staples, Evidence and Insight Manager at Healthwatch, is confident it can become a vital tool for residents seeking the best care available.
He said: “The Experience Exchange is a one-stop shop that provides key information on health and social care providers and, crucially, creates the ability for people to leave feedback about them.
“It’s a simple online system that makes the review process very straight forward.
“We want people to give their opinions every time they use health or social care in this area – whether they were good or bad.
“Others will then be able to read the reviews and perhaps make a more informed choice for themselves.
“It will help show what’s working well and what areas need to be addressed. It will also help us to improve and influence how services are delivered in future.”
Reviews, which can be made anonymously, will be passed on to providers and commissioners to help shape the future delivery of services in the county.
The Experience Exchange has already attracted more than 30 reviews since it was first launched two weeks ago, but Mr Staples is hoping for many more in future.
He added: “We’re still very much in the early stages, but we’re hoping people will soon see the potential benefit and get involved themselves.
“If someone is not happy with their GP, for example, or if they found a service that was particularly good, they can let the world know about it.
“It’s a chance to help others take the right option and an opportunity for those in need of a service to discover what people who have been there before them thought about it.
“It’s also have a big say in the way services are run in future.”
Visit the Experience Exchange by going to www.healthwatchstaffordshire.co.uk/x2 or call free on 0800 051 8371.
Shepherd PR News
July 11, 2014
Online tool can help improve care services
A new online service designed to help improve health and social care in Staffordshire is to be officially launched next week.
The Experience Exchange is a tool combining key information about services in the county with a special review centre, where residents are encouraged to provide feedback.
The idea has been developed by consumer champions Healthwatch Staffordshire and will be formally unveiled during their inaugural annual meeting on Tuesday (July 15).
Robin Morrison, chairman of Engaging Communities Staffordshire, which delivers Healthwatch, believes the service has huge potential.
He said: “The Experience Exchange will be like a one-stop shop for health and social care in Staffordshire.
“There’ll be a wealth of key information on more than 1,000 providers ranging from hospitals, hospices, residential and nursing homes to GPs, dentists and opticians.
“And it will offer the chance for people who have used those services to provide a review as they can share their experiences or make suggestions for improvement.
“The information provided will be passed on to providers and commissioners so it will effectively help shape the future delivery of health and social care.
“It’s an opportunity for people in Staffordshire to have a big say in the way their own services are run.”
Members of the public can visit the Experience Exchange by going to www.healthwatchstaffordshire.co.uk/x2
The annual meeting for Healthwatch Staffordshire, which crowned its first year in operation by picking up the national ‘Outstanding Healthwatch of the Year’ award last week, takes place at Rising Brook Conference Centre in Stafford (10am-1.30pm).
The event will feature a debate on the controversial NHS Care.data programme alongside a question and answer session with various healthcare providers and support services.
Mr Morrison is hoping residents will take the opportunity to get involved.
He added: “The debate is a chance for people to talk about the scheme and explore all the issues that will affect them.
“The scheme is due to go live in the Autumn and we want people to be fully informed before they make a decision so holding an open public discussion on the subject will give them the chance to have their say.”
July 07, 2014
National award shows health watchdog is on right track
A Staffordshire health watchdog has landed a prestigious national award after its first year in operation.
Healthwatch Staffordshire beat off stiff competition from all over the country to be named ‘Outstanding Healthwatch of the Year’ at an annual ceremony in Reading.
Jan Sensier, chief executive of Engaging Communities Staffordshire, which delivers Healthwatch, described the award as a massive shot in the arm and says it shows the watchdog is on the right track ahead of its inaugural annual meeting next week.
“We always said Staffordshire deserves a Rolls Royce of a health watchdog service and this award shows we’re on the way to delivering that,” she said.
“There’s still a long way to go and there’s still lots to do, but we’re delighted with the recognition of our work so far.
“It’s very humbling to be picked out ahead of a great countrywide Healthwatch network and we’ll do all we can to develop our service.”
The Staffordshire watchdog dealt with several major issues in its inaugural year including the Francis Report into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust and the Keogh Inquiry which both followed the scandal at Stafford Hospital.
Ms Sensier added: “We’ve had a lot of complex issues to deal with in our first year, but this shows that we hit the ground running.”
Anna Bradley, chair of Healthwatch England, said Healthwatch Staffordshire had done “an impressive job in setting up an effective organisation to give patients in the area a stronger voice.”
Healthwatch Staffordshire, set up in April last year, is gearing up for its first AGM at Rising Brook Conference Centre in Stafford on Tuesday, July 15.
The event will feature a debate on the controversial NHS plans for a new data-sharing scheme and Ms Sensier says the meeting provides an ideal opportunity for residents to have their say.
Healthwatch Staffordshire is keen to get people from all walks of life to go along and will pass on the results both to NHS England and Healthwatch England.
The event, which will also feature a question and answer session with various healthcare providers and support services, runs from 10.30am to 1pm.