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Healthwatch Hartlepool Newsletter - August 2020


Patient Survey – Discharging Patients during COVID-19

During the Coronavirus Pandemic the usual processes hospitals followed to discharge patients from their care changed to help free up beds. While these changes have successfully got people out of hospital and helped the NHS manage the demand created by coronavirus, we want to know what this has meant for you or your loved ones.

To find out more about people’s experiences of health and care during COVID-19, we are launching our campaign #BecauseWeAllCare to encourage people to share their experiences of health and social care services in Hartlepool. By telling us about your experiences of leaving hospital we can help services in Hartlepool & Stockton-on-Tees improve the care they provide now, and in the future.

Please share your views today in our short, confidential survey via the weblink below


If you or family have not recently been in hospital, please share this link with your friends, neighbours and networks so we can hear from more people about their experiences of care.

Nationally recent polling shows that people are more grateful for the healthcare services they receive – particularly GP and hospital services – since the outbreak. It also revealed: Three-quarters (76%) of people surveyed said that feedback is an important way to improve services, yet despite greater public willingness to contribute, some barriers do remain; A third of respondents (36%) said they would be reluctant to provide negative feedback in case it increases pressure on services or staff; A fifth (18%) of people now consider themselves even less likely to provide negative feedback on care. Among the key reasons cited were a recognition of the challenging circumstances health care staff face (56%) and not wanting to cause further issues for services to deal with (42%).

People aged 18-34 have had the greatest change in attitudes towards care during the pandemic. The polling suggests that as well as supporting health causes (52%) this age group is now significantly more likely to feedback on care (72%), and to donate to or fundraise for a relevant health cause (52%). Sir Robert Francis QC, Chair of Healthwatch England said: "These findings are good news. As the UK looks to the future after COVID-19, it's never been more important for people to share their experiences of care. Services won’t bounce back overnight. There'll be problems to tackle but also opportunities to make care better. You can help doctors, nurses and care workers find ways to improve support by sharing your experience.”

The Dementia Advisory Service is Open Once Again

Based at The Bridge, Villiers Street, Hartlepool, TS24 7ZA, The Dementia Advisory Service is open from August. Members of the public will have to make an appointment, and can only have 4 people in at a time from the same family and will be allocated 2 hours to each appointment, to allow time for cleaning as well in between visits.

Everyone entering The Bridge will be asked to wear a mask and use the hand sanitiser provided. Unfortunately refreshments will not be available.

The Bridge are also offering home visits to our clients who are registered, and make use of outdoor space to keep in line to the social distancing measures (weather permitted). Unfortunately at the moment there are no groups returning but the team are having conversations around starting walking groups and looking at other alternatives. The Bridge is still continuing with telephone support, call 01429 868587.

Befriending Volunteers Wanted

To continue the work of the Hartlepool Befriending Service, stay connected with lonely and isolated people over the phone. For further information please contact Cleveland Fire Brigade; 01429 - 872311 or visit www.clevelandfire.gov.uk

Most comprehensive flu programme in UK history will be rolled out this winter

Providers will work to vaccinate more than 30 million people during this flu season – millions more than received it last year. A significant new group will be eligible for the free flu vaccine as people aged 50 to 64 will be invited later in the season for a vaccination. Once vaccination of the most ‘at-risk’ groups is well underway, the department will work with clinicians to decide when to open the programme to invite people aged 50 to 64, with further details to be announced.

The NHS will contact people directly, including information about where to go to get the vaccine.

The expanded flu vaccination programme is part of plans to ready the NHS – both for the risk of a second peak of coronavirus cases, and to relieve winter pressures on A&E and emergency care. Increased vaccinations will help to reduce pressure on the NHS this winter by preventing flu-sickness which can cause hospitalisation and even death.

This announcement comes alongside the £3 billion for the NHS announced by the Prime Minister earlier this month to relieve winter pressures on A&E and emergency care in case of a second spike in infections. With COVID-19 still in circulation, this year’s campaign will be particularly vital to protect the most vulnerable and reduce the number of people needing flu treatment from the NHS.

All frontline health and social care workers will also be urged to get their free vaccine to protect themselves and their patients or residents from the flu.

Hartlepool Carers have launched some fantastic new initiatives for carers in Hartlepool

Box Clever is a new project to support families with basic cooking skills, budget management, shopping effectively and showing how to get the most of your food. With school holidays being upon us we know families will be in further financial hardship and find re-engaging in community activities difficult following lockdown. Box Clever focuses on our community engaging in fun activities together from their home.

We have a dedicated social media platform for all participants to share their meals and ideas. When lockdown and restrictions are eased we aim for everyone to meet up, share ideas and have a community kitchen meal together!

Boxes contain fresh products as well as store cupboard goods, with recipes to create delicious meals and snacks. The initiative is for any registered carers of any age, boxes are limited so please call us on 01429 - 283095 to register your interest!

Carers Cycle and Connect Scheme is a an opportunity for carers to loan technology and cycle equipment to get around town to help them in their caring role. This project is funded by Carers Trust. In light of service changes due to COVID-19, Carers Trust is supporting and piloting innovation across the UK.

We have a number of cycles with safety equipment for carers to loan. Throughout lockdown carers have shared with us the difficulty in getting across town to continue to support loved ones and felt this would be great to develop. Not only will it help carers in their role but it will increase carers physical and mental well-being. We are also conscious that many carers have anxiety about using public transport, this will help eliminate fears as well as being good for our environment.

We are also working with Hartlepool Borough Council, who are helping support the programme. We are excited to soon launch our ‘Carers Cycle and Connect’ Scheme. For more information, please get in touch on 01429 283095.

Healthwatch Hartlepool Annual Report 2019/20

During the year April 2019 to April 2020, it has been an incredibly challenging but successful year as we work through the COVID-19 crisis while still being committed to our aims and targets. Never before has our work been more difficult or rewarding, but together we have moved forward.

One of our key successes has been around our sustainability. Through partnership working, across the region, we have brought additional funds into Healthwatch Hartlepool, but this collaborative work adds a new dimension to our work. One of these major pieces of work was around the published NHS Long term plan and we received the most responses to surveys we have ever received, which demonstrates its significant importance to the residents of Hartlepool. We also worked on the reconfiguration of the sub region’s Clinical Commissioning Groups, held workshops around wellbeing and worked incredibly hard on developing a new sensory strategy for Hartlepool.

To view or download a copy of our annual report please visit www.healthwatchhartlepool.co.uk

If you have any questions relating to our Annual Report please don't hesitate to contact us on 01429 288146, or email us at; yoursay@healthwatchhartlepool.co.uk

Free Online Learning for Hartlepool & Tees Valley Area

Hartlepool Borough Council and Hi-VisUK* are working together in Making Waves, a Dual Sensory Impairment (DSI) partnership project. Thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund, this includes free training for staff and carers in social and health services in Hartlepool or any person living locally who supports an elderly person.

The training helps you understand sight and hearing loss in adults, especially combined sight and hearing loss (DSI) in elderly people.

It’s quick, flexible and full of resources: video and audio simulations of eye conditions and types of hearing loss highlight clearly the impact of DSI on daily life; a checklist to spot the signs; aids, equipment and communication tips. You can do it in one go or short separate sessions. A certificate is awarded at the end of the course.

Visit: hi-visuklearning.org, watch the 5 minute explainer video then you can enrol.


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