Our Year in Review – 2022-23

Today we are launching our Annual Report which shares all of our activities and impact throughout 2022 and 2023.

We’re delighted to be able to share all of the work that our volunteers and ambassadors have been doing during the year, alongside all of the fantastic research and engagement projects that we’ve delivered. The report also shares what you’ve been getting in contact with us about and all of the ways that you’ve engaged with us both in person and via digital means, through our growing social media presence.

A few highlights from the work that Healthwatch Essex has delivered this year include ‘Happiness, Heartbreak and Hope’ – our very first book publication, which focuses on the different journeys that people have experienced in accessing fertility treatment across the county. We have also been pleased this year to see the Essex Fella’s Forum, a group which brings men from across Essex together on a regular basis to talk about the issues that matter most to them, go from strength to strength. The report is full of photographs of the group meeting in lots of different environments which help to build rapport and encourage open and honest conversation.

We are delighted that, this year, our Trauma Ambassador Group has launched the Trauma Awareness Card – a brilliant initiative that helps people who are living with trauma to stay engaged with health and social care services. The project has been a roaring success with more than 10,000 cards already distributed and further partnership work ensuring that the cards are rolled out even further to groups who may be most in need. We were pleased that this project was acknowledged as the ‘Most Promising Pilot’ at the Integrated Care Awards.

Alongside our Trauma Ambassador Group, we continue to develop all of our ambassador networks – including our Collaborate Essex Disability and Carer’s Forum, our Learning Disability Ambassadors, our Research Ambassadors, our Hidden Voices network, our Young Mental Health Ambassadors and a new group focussed on mental health which is open to adults. We were also delighted that our Research team was shortlisted for a HSJ award based on the work that was carried out in partnership with Mid and South Essex Foundation Trust to understand the challenges adults with learning disabilities face in accessing acute care. A range of resources have been co-designed to support professionals working within healthcare to better support adults with learning disabilities.

Our Information and Guidance Team have continued to take calls from the public helping them to navigate the complexity of the health and social care services in Essex – and doing bespoke work with partners around particular topic areas of interest. Our new podcast has gone from strength to strength with us covering a wide variety of topics throughout the year ranging from gender transition to mental health and menopause to alopecia. Thank you to everyone who has worked with us this year to make sure that lived experience is at the heart of health and social care in Essex.

You can read the whole report here.