She is hugely respected by our partners in the local health and care system, her fellow Directors and our Healthwatch team.
Here she talks about the independent remit of Healthwatch and the importance of the Chair’s role.
She also looks ahead at changes in our local health and care system - and the opportunities to make sure that the views of people across our area are heard and shape the services and support they need.
On our Healthwatch
Healthwatch has a statutory role and a might beyond its small size, you might think. Yet it has managed to do so many important things during my time working with the team and the Board of Directors. And I’m very proud of that and it will be a very sad time to leave.
We have a unique position in the health and care system. Definitely.
We have the right and are expected to shout out if things are not as they should be for patients.
The main focus is to ensure our planning is robust and our governance is good. And, as Chair of Board, oversee the management of relationships with our very precious stakeholders – councils, hospitals, GP surgeries, other voluntary sector organisations who work to help people in their times of need.
Many of our directors have a particular interest and work really hard to understand those relationships and help position Healthwatch with all those local partnerships.
Working through the pandemic
I’m incredibly proud of the Healthwatch team’s response to Covid – both in themselves - working from home and in designing new ways to carry on engaging with people online and from a distance.
The messages we’ve had to speak about on behalf of patients have been difficult – very hard. But they have been well received by the health and social care community locally and we think we have been able to make a difference and use the experiences of service users to influence change.
The Covid challenges continue
Covid itself has been a huge challenge. There will be people waiting for longer. And more people waiting for their treatment.
So making sure information is readily available to people is an incredibly important part of our Healthwatch role.
And we really need to think about ways to do that - more, better and in tandem with others - to really make a difference.
Big changes to health and care for local people
Another big challenge ahead is for us to maintain a strong influence as the way health and social care is organised is going to change so much in this next year.
Partners are going to work in an Integrated Care System and we certainly want patients and users of services to feel they are at the heart of this new way of planning, managing and delivering care in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Listening to the voices of young people
Hearing young people’s voices has never been more needed. They have suffered hugely during the pandemic. And there are big waits for mental health services for young people and numerous other areas of concern.
I’m very proud that we’ve got a young people’s advocate on the Board of Healthwatch. She’s already making an impact in how we do our work to bring young people’s voices to the forefront.
Become our new Chair
We are looking for a dynamic individual to be the next Chair of our Board of Directors.
Would you like to use your skills and experience to help improve the public voice in health and care services for people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough?
Find out more about the role and how to apply.