What does volunteering bring to you? Read the case studies from Volunteers at Healthwatch.
I joined the HAB after I retired from working in Social Care and the NHS since 1972 mainly in the Midlands. I feed an East Staffordshire perspective into the Board, linking up regularly with the local district patient group and members of the CCG patient board. This enables me to pick up on local issues and concerns a which can help shape the Healthwatch countywide priorities. issues that have come up include access to GP services, mental health and developments at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton Foundation Trust. It also provides a communication link to local patient groups regarding Healthwatch activities.
I have represented Healthwatch on various groups and project boards over the years. Recently I sat on East Staffs CCG Procurement Project Board which oversaw the successful re provision of Community Health Services in the area. This involved working alongside NHS senior managers and clinicians offering a patient perspective. I have seen a move towards more collaborative working between different parts of the NHS system.
I also have undertaken Enter and View training and done some visits to Learning Disability day services in Burton.
Dave, Healthwatch Volunteer and member of Healthwatch Advisory Board
I joined Healthwatch in 2013 when I took early retirement. I had worked for the NHS, thought I knew how it worked, and had experience as a carer. I have knowledge and experience and wanted to be use both these attributes to make things better in wider health and social care provision. A Healthwatch strapline is “We’re here to find out what matters to people, and help make sure their views shape the support they need.”
Healthwatch were able to offer both useful training and opportunities for me to become involved in a number of initiatives to meet that aim. There are things I’m not good at, and if I didn’t think I could or wanted to do things offered, I simply said so. I later became a member of the Healthwatch Advisory Board, which exercises a governance function over the work and running of Healthwatch Staffordshire. Are they doing what they are supposed to do? Are they spending the money wisely?
I also represented Healthwatch on a CCG Governance Committee and served on a different CCG project board for service redesign. I was offered the opportunity to become involved in Staffordshire Carers partnership, which I became Chair of for a while. That fitted in with my experience, as I was carer for my mother in law for several years, and I have strong feelings about the role and demands of being a carer. I also became involved with the local branch of the National Institute for Health Research. Other members of the HAB have had other opportunities that suits their experience and interest.
Healthwatch is not a life sentence. You are not a paid employee, and can walk away if circumstances change, or you win the lottery. My circumstances changed, but other opportunities arose, and I am now a member of the CCGs Local Equality Advisory Forum. This is a group of people who represent communities with protected characteristics and vulnerabilities and act as critical friends to the CCGs. We advise on policies, public campaign material, service change proposals and inform the CCG decision making.
If you have a passion to improve health and social care, and a weather eye open for different opportunities, this might be exactly what the Doctor ordered.
John, Healthwatch Volunteer and member of the Healthwatch Advisory Board
For the past 2 years I have represented Healthwatch Staffordshire on the Community Hospitals Programme Board, covering the two community hospitals at Tamworth and Lichfield. The Board consists of representatives from the UHDB NHS Foundation Trust, the CCG, local GPs and other stakeholders and the remit is to make recommendations on the utilisation and development of the facilities at these hospitals, which are critical to health care in the local area. In times of review of health services generally, Healthwatch has an important role in highlighting the views and needs of the local population.
Derek, Healthwatch Volunteer and member of the Healthwatch Advisory Board