We thought now would be a good time to let you all know how the Healthwatch team have adapted to new ways of working and what our priorities will be over the coming months.
As you can imagine it was our first priority to establish the safety and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and the wider public and we have successfully done this by introducing homeworking arrangements, cancelling all face-to-face public meeting and ensuring we implement and follow Government guidance on social distancing.
We have connected with the local authority, NHS, local charities and other partners across the health and social care system to ensure we provide clear and accurate information and advice to the Kingston community, in support of a joined-up response to the COVID-19 crisis.
We have received guidance from Healthwatch England on our statutory activities during the COVID-19 outbreak. Local Healthwatch priorities moving forward during this time will therefore be as follows:
- Provide information and advice about access to local health and social care services in Kingston: We will continue to share advice, information and guidance from official sources on our website and across our social media channels as well as sign-posting to local support services and community initiatives – available here.
- Obtain the views of people about their needs and experiences of local health and social care services: We plan to continue our engagement with the local community through our Open Meetings and Task Group meetings by moving these meetings online.
- Make reports and recommendations about how services could be improved: We have a number of reports which were in the pipeline before the crisis and we fully intend to complete and publish these reports in the coming months.
- Share views on the standard of local services and share these with Healthwatch England and the CQC: We have updated our ‘Have your say’ survey in light of the current climate and are still asking people to share the views on health and social care services during this time.
- Promote involvement of local people in commissioning, provision and scrutiny of local services: During this time it is unlikely that any new key commissioning processes will be commenced.
- Enable local people to monitor standard of local services: We continue to welcome feedback by email from residents on the standard of local services during this time.
- Hold board meetings in public: We ran our March board meeting online via Zoom and will continue to do this.
- Produce an annual report by 30 June: We will publish our annual report by this deadline.
If you have any advice, information or views which could help support the above priority and activities then please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We thank you for your patience in this ever-evolving and changing situation.