Healthwatch Essex receives national award for Trauma Card

Healthwatch Essex was recognised at the National Healthwatch Impact Awards this week for helping to improve care for local people who have been affected by trauma.

We have been commended in the annual National Healthwatch Impact Awards, recognising outstanding work that uses local people’s views to improve health and care support. In the running against 16 other shortlisted projects, we were commended for our Trauma Card, a tool to help trauma survivors when traumatic memories are triggered.

Our Trauma Ambassador Group aims to raise awareness of trauma and its effects, and to improve health, care and wellbeing environments for people who are living with the effects of trauma, which is why they co-produced the Trauma Card. The aim of the cards is to empower those who have experienced trauma to communicate more effectively with professionals. The cards can be handed to the professional when a cardholder finds themselves in a triggering situation, to enable them to get the support they need.

The response to the launch of the cards has been overwhelming – over 20,000 cards have been requested by individuals and organisations to date, not just in Essex but from across the UK and in other countries. Feedback from cardholders has been hugely positive, with some people saying simply having the card in their purse offers enough reassurance to attend an appointment.

Commenting on the award, Louise Ansari, Chief Executive of Healthwatch England said:

“The team should feel really proud. Our awards recognise outstanding work that makes a real difference to local people, and the competition this year from across England was very high. Being recognised is also a testament to all the local people who were prepared to speak up and the health professionals who listened. It just shows what can be achieved when we work together to improve care.”

It was great to attend the virtual showcase day and share the incredible examples of best practice across the local Healthwatch network.  Other local Healthwatch recognised the need for the Trauma Card in their own communities and discussed how it could be fed into local and national trauma informed care policies.

Our Information and Guidance Manager, Sharon Westfield-de-Cortez, who facilitates the Trauma Ambassador Group said:

“I am delighted that its value has been recognised and hope that this adds to the level of awareness of the impact of trauma in our people and communities.”

We would like to offer our congratulations to the overall winners, Healthwatch Coventry, for their important work in improving the maternity care of refugee and newly arrived women, and Healthwatch Blackpool, who were highly commended for tackling a rise in young people vaping, as well as those who were commended.

To find out more about the Trauma Card, click here.