Agenda item

Healthwatch County Durham - Annual Report 2020/21 and Workplan 2021/22

Report of the Chair of Healthwatch County Durham.


The Board received a report of the Chair of Healthwatch County Durham, Chris Cunnington-Shore on the Healthwatch County Durham - Annual Report 2020/21 and Workplan 2021/22 (for copy see file of minutes).


The Board noted that while the work of Healthwatch County Durham was significantly impacted by the Covid pandemic, reports were published about the improvements people would like to see in relation to health and social care on:

      Access to GP services

      Pharmacy services

      Life in a Domestic Abuse refuge during the COVID 19 pandemic

      COVID-19 vaccination programme


The Board noted the ongoing priorities for Healthwatch County Durham which were carried forward from 2021-22:

      Gathering the experiences of children and young people accessing Mental Health support

      Gathering the experiences of people accessing Home Care Services

      Undertaking targeted work with seldom heard groups accessing primary care

      Publishing the results of the survey we conducted into registering with an NHS dentist

      Following up the recommendations made in our reports to see which recommendations have been adopted by service providers

      Undertaking a dedicated piece of work with volunteers and the public creating some video diaries, highlighting their experiences accessing Health and Social Care Services


The Chair of Healthwatch County Durham noted a public survey was underway to prioritise the following five topics for the next 12-18 months:

      Hearing about the experiences of people visiting loved ones in care homes and the impact of Covid restrictions on the Mental Health of people living in care homes

      The experiences of patients being discharged from hospital, including accessing patient transport from hospital to home. HW are currently in discussions with CDDFT about working together and have joined the Hospital Discharge Group.

      COVID-19 has had a significant impact on hospital waiting times and HW want people to share their experiences of what it has meant for them being on hospital waiting lists.

      Are patients getting information in an easy to understand way?  Is the accessible information standard being used in Health and Social Care services?

      What are the experiences of patients accessing GP appointments and healthcare services? Are things improving?


Councillor T Henderson asked if there was any best practice around the country where there was a young people’s Healthwatch function and was this something County Durham Healthwatch could explore.  The Engagement and Signposting Lead, Healthwatch County Durham, Julia Catherall explained that Healthwatch County Durham went into schools in respect of mental health, with a report on Children and Young People’s Mental Health available on the Healthwatch website.  She noted that some volunteers were young people and some of the work included video diaries.  She noted that Darlington Healthwatch had a young people’s ‘Youthwatch Darlington’, however there was none currently for County Durham.  The Chair of Healthwatch County Durham noted that a few years ago Healthwatch approached Durham University for volunteers and there had been some good interest, however this was just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.




(i)     That the Healthwatch County Durham Annual Report for 2020/21 be received

(ii)   That the ongoing workplan priorities and the engagement topics for inclusion in the new workplan for 2022/23, which is currently out for public vote be noted.

(iii)  That comments on the future work areas for Healthwatch County Durham to ensure further alignment to the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy be noted.


Supporting documents: