I am very proud of the voluntary, community and social enterprise [VCSE] sector services in Stockport which support our most vulnerable people to access the health and care services that they need.
Many of our local services go above and beyond to ensure people get the best treatment for them, their families, and carers and when the person does not have a family of their own, they become their extended family.
However, occasionally they are let down by our statutory services, who do not provide a service which is equitable nor fair because of a disability or condition which affects their daily life, for which they need additional support in accessing those services such as routine outpatient appointments.
Periodically we receive feedback from local people and those representing them in the community who feel the service they or someone they care for received let them down. Sometimes a service not booking a British Sign Language [BSL] Interpreter or forgetting to implement a policy which reduces the stress of a busy waiting area, or a member of staff mistaking sensory loss for ignorance.
When feedback comes to us via local groups or organisations we will always try and work collaboratively to support our voluntary sector members to resolve issues within statutory commissioned services.
One of the statutory functions of Healthwatch Stockport is to ensure we monitor services and produce reports with recommendations to commissioners and providers of health and social care. However, the detail is in following up the recommendations and ensuring progress is made against them.
In August 2020 we held a feedback focus group inviting stakeholders from local provider services, carers, and health and social care professionals to provide direct accounts and experiences they have had with someone they care for or directly from the people they support.
Although we heard some examples of good practice within primary care it was isolated to a few specific practices. It was disappointing to hear accounts of poor practice as we want to be able to stand up and make sure our local health and social care system provides the best of care for our communities.
Healthwatch Stockport made a commitment to the participants and groups who took time out to feedback about their experiences, that with them we would set up a task and finish group to collate their feedback, help them find out more information and present initial concerns to the local Health and Wellbeing Board.
-Maria Kildunne (Chief Officer)