Northamptonshire ‘not opinionated enough’ on health issues

Councillor Robin Brown at the launch of Healthwatch Northamptonshire at The Sunley Management Centre, Northampton University.
Councillor Robin Brown at the launch of Healthwatch Northamptonshire at The Sunley Management Centre, Northampton University.

One of the first tasks of a new health watchdog is to get people interested in Northamptonshire health services, its chairman has said.

Healthwatch Northamptonshire launched today as the independent body that will hold the NHS and Northamptonshire County Council to account.

But chairman Professor Will Pope, said people in the county need to be more engaged and opinionated for it to work.

She said: “It intrigues me that in Northanptonshire there are, for example, 10,000 people who are NHS foundation trust members who are informed about health issues. Yet only 383 people had a view about which priorities the NHS and councils should focus on in the county health strategy.

“What worries me is that they also seem to me to be the same people each time.

“Perhaps we need to be using social media and other methods to reach people. ”

Healthwatch Northamptonshire, a social enterprise, is supported by the University of Northampton and Northampton Volunteering Centre and will provide telephone, email and website support for anyone local health and social care services.

The aim of the service is to gather the opinions of people in Northamptonshire, and use them to improve services for everyone.

It covers:

-GP surgeries

-dentists

-pharmacists

-opticians

-hospitals

-doctors

-nurses

-therapists

-health visitors

-ambulance services

-care homes

-supported living

-home care

-day services

-carers

-foster care

-support at home

-social care equipment

-community health services

-school nurses

-health visitors

-mental health services

-children’s services

-maternity units and

-surgeons.

Opinions will be used to feed into both local services and the national healthcare agenda.

Based at Top Lodge, on the University of Northampton’s Park campus, it can be contacted on Northampton 893636 when the telephone service is fully operational, emailing: enquiries@healthwatchnorthamptonshire.co.uk or visiting: www.healthwatchnorthamptonshire.co.uk. The service is also on Twitter (@HWatchNorthants).

Healthwatch Northamptonshire is run as a social enterprise and will signpost local people to information about healthcare in Northamptonshire.