Health service users encouraged to make voice heard and improve care

Healthwatch Rotherham wants people to make voices heardHealthwatch Rotherham wants people to make voices heard
Healthwatch Rotherham wants people to make voices heard
ROTHERHAM'S independent health and social care champion has added its backing to a national campaign encouraging people to give feedback on their experiences of NHS care after research found nearly a fifth of people found the concept “emotionally taxing”.

The new research by the Care Quality Commission and health and care champion Healthwatch England revealed more than half of people surveyed (54 per cent) said they find it easier to give feedback on commercial products and services such as hotels or meals, compared to sharing their experiences of health and social care.

When questioned on what had put them off, more than a quarter (26 per cent) of the 2,000 people surveyed said they thought their feedback would not be listened to, one in five (22 per cent) were worried it would have a negative impact on their care, and a further fifth (21 per cent) didn’t want to cause a problem for the people caring for them.

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People also said sharing feedback about commercial products and services was less emotionally taxing (18 per cent) and less personal (26 per cent) than sharing their health and social care experiences.

Despite over two-thirds (72 per cent) of people saying they feel health and social care services are a priority for them, only two in ten (20 per cent) said they had given feedback in the last two years.

Healthwatch Rotherham – which publishes monthly 'What We Heard' reports based on feedback from people using health services in the borough – has now added its backing to the research, part of a new Share for Better Care campaign launched by CQC and HWE, in collaboration with partners including Race Equality Foundation, National Dignity Council, and the Patients Association.

A spokesperson for Healthwatch Rotherham said: “We are supporting this national campaign and encourage anyone with any positive or negative experiences of health and social care in Rotherham to get in touch with us.

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“We recognise that people do not always have their voice heard which is why we continually reach out to local residents, both online and in person, to find out what is good and bad about our local services.

“One of the biggest barriers to people sharing their stories is a belief that it won’t make a difference, but what we hope this campaign raises awareness of is that without the valuable feedback people provide, services can’t understand what changes need to be made.

“Recently, feedback we have been given has resulted in better access to maternity hubs, with four new ones opening at existing family hub venues around Rotherham.

“Your voice really does count.”

Chris Dzikiti, director of mental health at the CQC added: “People have the right to feedback about their experiences of the health and social care services and we want them to feel safe and secure to do so.

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“The care system must get better at encouraging people to feedback and taking positive action as a result.

“We need people's experiences to understand the quality being provided and develop a clear picture of their care, and challenge the poor care where we find it.”