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HealthWatch Blackpool

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Empowerment are pleased to announce that from 1st April 2015 we will be supporting the provision of Healthwatch Blackpool - "the consumer voice for health and social care".
Why is this happening?
Blackpool Council have to make sure there is an independent local "healthwatch" - the consumer voice for Health and Social
Care. They advertised for organisations who wanted to make this happen, and Empowerment were successful in winning the
Why Empowerment?
We are a local charity set up in Blackpool in 1994 to provide independent support for people with health and care problems,
providing free advocacy and advice. We've since grown and now we support thousands of people each year across North
Lancashire. It made sense for us to apply to run Healthwatch, and our experience means we have lots of ideas and
enthusiasm about how to make sure local people have a strong voice.
What are we going to do?
Identifying Priorities
The first thing we are going to do is consult widely about which areas Healthwatch Blackpool needs to focus on. This will be
through attending existing meetings to talk about our plans, holding a public event, and running an online survey. The things
will be looking at are:
  • What are the biggest concerns people have about health and care in Blackpool?
  • Which areas of health and care provision are not performing well?
  • Where do people think their voices are not being listened to?
Reviewing Services
For June 2015 we will then come up with a programme of "Enter and Views". Each month we'll be going into one of our local
health and care services and finding out more about what's going on, and casting an independent eye over what's happening.

We want local people to be at the heart of these reviews, and we'll provide volunteers with training and support so they have
the confidence and skills to go in and assess what it's like being on the receiving end of health and/or care from that service
eg care homes or a hospital department.

We'll bring people's opinions together in a short report, which will be published on our website and sent to the health and care
provider, other patient/user groups and the Care Quality Commission. We'll then monitor whether our recommendations are
being met and report back to Healthwatch members, and if we need to raise it with senior people in health and care, then we
will take it to the Health and Wellbeing Board and the management of NHS and Social Care in the town.
Getting Public Opinions
Every month we'll be looking at a new area to find out the views of local people on the health and care issues that matter to
you. This could be a mix of surveys, visiting groups and going out to find the people who're most affected, and what they
think about the issue.

Again, we'd really like local volunteers to get involved in gathering this data, alongside using social media and face to face
conversations. We'll produce a short report each month summarising people's views on each topic.
Recording Individual Concerns
Any issue or improvement we can feedback on matters - not just the big issues for reviews or surveys. If people have
stories to tell - good or bad - we want to capture these as well and make sure they get fed back. This will be possible
via our website, or by getting in touch with us at our office. We'll keep a record of the issues and make sure we pass
on information about other services who can help if people need more support.
Supporting Local Groups
The final thing we will do is make sure there is a way for the many local groups involved in health and social care to have a
voice. We will happily train local groups in being "community networkers" and we welcome them to get involved in service
reviews and consultation, or even just passing on information to be included in our monthly bulletins, which we'll publish
widely and locally. We are there to provide advice for local groups on how to be heard, and how to work to achieve change
and improvements for people with health and care problems.
How do I get involved?
If you want to get involved as a volunteer...
We would love to hear from you! We want to recruit people who would like to be:
  • Community researchers - taking part in reviewing services, and meeting with people to find out their views on health
    and care in Blackpool. We'll expect you to work as part of a review and consultation team and to act fairly, impartially
    and respectfully - in return you get to make sure that the services we all need at some point in our life are of the best
    quality, and responsive to the needs of those who use them.
  • Community networkers - if you are involved in another group or meeting about health and social care we'd love to
    recruit you as one of our networkers. All we ask is that you make sure information flows to and from Healthwatch
    Blackpool by using your contacts, and staying in touch with us, eg providing us with information for our bulletins and
  • Interested in being on the Board? - We're continuing with the Healthwatch Blackpool Board as a way of making sure
    Healthwatch Blackpool is led by local consumers of health and social care. There will be a process for appointing
    people to the Board - we're hoping to make sure we have a diverse and positive board who can represent the interests
    of the whole health and care community. If this would interest you then see below about being a member, and look
    out for information on volunteering to stand for the Board.

If you would like to become a member so you can stay in touch and receive our updates...
There's a short Membership Form which means we can collect some basic information for our records (your contact
details etc) as well as finding out if you are interested in particular areas - if you are then we'll make sure we get in touch if
we're looking into them, because your views will help us have a full picture, and you may decide you'd like to help with a review.
Contact us on 0300 323 2100 or at admin@empowermentcharity.org.uk
If you are a local group or organisation...
Groups and organisations can also sign up as members - there is a separate section on the Membership Form.
Each organisation will need to nominate a person to have a vote when we elect Board Members. There is no restriction on
individuals who work for a member organisation joining Healthwatch as individuals. 
Do you have any questions or comments? Please feel free to contact our Chief Executive at:
Page last updated: November 2015