Celebrating ten years of people speaking up to make care better  

We’ve been celebrating our ten-year anniversary this month, marking the difference the public in Essex has made in improving NHS and social care services.  In 2013, Healthwatch Essex was launched with one simple aim, to make sure NHS leaders and other decision-makers hear the care experiences of people in Essex and use your feedback to improve support. Healthwatch Essex also helps people to find reliable and trustworthy information and advice.

Business Apprentice Grace with Collaborate Essex Forum Member Donna

Over the last decade, over thousands of people have shared their stories, good and bad, with Healthwatch Essex, telling us what’s working and what isn’t regarding health and social care. With the help of local people, we have been able to help improve health and social care services across the region. To mark this important milestone, Healthwatch Essex is celebrating our ten ‘best bits’ across our social media channels as well as holding an event bringing together our team, trustees and volunteers.

On the official anniversary on 1st April, we held a BBQ to celebrate at our office. We enjoyed getting together in a relaxed environment to reflect on the past decade, thank the ambassadors for their hard work and introduce new members to the team.

Our best bits include:

  • The production of the award-winning film about Josh and his healthcare hero.
  • The creation of The Collaborate Essex Disability and Carers Forum.
  • The launch of the Trauma Card.
  • The promotion of our Sensory Awareness Campaign.
  • The production of the Addiction TikToks.

The evidence provided by local people’s experiences has helped improve NHS and social care services nationally and locally.

Last year the Healthwatch network as a whole supported more than two million people to have their say on care and get the right advice.

Here are just some of the ways people helped make a difference in 2021-22:

  • Healthwatch research exploring vaccine confidence with people from different backgrounds provided vital lessons for public health campaigns.
  • Public feedback helped highlight the negative impact poor NHS admin can have and recommended five principles for services to improve people’s experiences.
  • The Government updated national hospital discharge guidance to put patient safety first, thanks to the views of patients and carers.
  • NHS England announced improvements to non-emergency patient transport services thanks to public feedback.
  • After Healthwatch and other organisations called for an urgent response to hospital waiting lists, and better interim communication and support, the NHS set out a recovery plan to address the backlog.
  • Healthwatch uncovered that only a third of NHS Trusts fully comply with their duty to help patients with sensory impairments and learning disabilities, which has helped lead to a national review of the Accessible Information Standard.

Commenting on the anniversary, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Essex, Sam Glover, said:

Chair Amanda and CEO Sam cutting the cake

“Over the last ten years, we’ve been able to help improve health and social care services for people in Essex. But nothing would have changed if local people had not spoken up about their care and services had not listened. So thank you to everyone who has played their part.

“However, we can’t stop here. With NHS and social care services facing such big challenges, your feedback is more critical than ever. By sharing your experience, you can help professionals to put themselves in your shoes, to understand your reality and the issues that need tackling to improve care.

“So next time you use a health or care service, take a moment to share your experience. It won’t take long and could make a real difference in making care better for you and your community.”

Find out more about our impact and find out all of the ways you can get involved.