Success at the PEN Awards

We are delighted to announce that Healthwatch Essex received three awards at the recent Patient Experience Network National Awards, which took place in Birmingham on 1st March, including Charity/Third Sector of the Year!

The PEN National Awards recognises best practice in the experience of care across all facets of health and social care. Our ‘555 Model of Engagement’ was awarded Runner Up in the Championing the Public category and Finalist in the Strengthening the Foundation category.

The 555 model of engagement was conceived as a direct result of one of our ‘sofa films’ on mental health. Mental health service users were interviewed about their experiences and described their frustrations about services not being ‘joined-up’, professionals not seeing the ‘whole’ person and the fact that decision makers didn’t appear to have contact with, or listen to the people actually using their services, when designing them. We wanted to address the need for people’s needs to be heard, understood and met. Therefore Healthwatch Essex piloted an innovative and effective model of engagement that would not only bring service providers and commissioners of health and social care together, but also put patients face-to-face with them and allow them to voice their ‘lived experience’ and offer practical suggestions to help improve/change services.

The model relies on identifying and working with key partner organisations who can give us access to services users- often hard-to-reach or seldom heard groups of people. The pilot on mental health was so effective that the 555 model has been integrated into our engagement strategy and we have now conducted 555 projects on neurology and sensory impairment, and have recently commenced a new project on safeguarding.