9 January 2018: We popped along to the launch of the latest prospectus of courses being offered by the Compass Recovery College. The courses are available to people living with mental health needs and cover creative activities such as pottery, information sessions about a specific diagnose such as bipolar, advice on life skills such as getting back to work, or general wellbeing topics such as happiness.
15 January 2018: We went along to a public consultation meeting run by Reading Borough Council about our own future. The council wants to run Healthwatch Reading, and Healthwatch Wokingham as one organisation. See our full report to find out what local people think of these plans.
18 January 2018: Our advocacy services manager Carl Borges met social workers and other professionals working in Reading’s adult social services teams, to explain our role in empowering people who may be vulnerable through age, disability or other issues, to have their say about care and support they need in their lives. These kinds of meetings are really useful in building understanding about each other’s roles and how we can work together to improve outcomes for clients.
25 January 2018: We helped the public understand the experiences of psychiatric inpatients at Propsect Park Hospital, when our latest report featured on TV, on BBC South Today news bulletins, and also on BBC Radio Berkshire’s breakfast show. Our chief executive Mandeep Kaur Sira was interviewed, explaining that people felt that staff treated them kindly, but that they believed there were not enough nurses and other staff, which affected how safe and supported they felt on wards.
26 & 28 January 2018: We visited two local care homes to speak to staff about our upcoming visits to talk to patients about their daily life and care, as part of our latest listening project. We have ‘Enter and View’ powers to allow us to visit care homes, GP surgeries and hospitals, and we plan these with managers in advance to explain why the experiences we collect can be useful learning exercises for their organisations. If you have a family member staying in a care home in Reading, we’d welcome your feedback.
31 January 2018: We finished the month by presenting our Prospect Park report to a Reading Borough Council committee. Rachel Eden (Labour), lead councillor for adult social care, said she was “hugely concerned about staff shortages”, which showed “the real impact of austerity on our NHS”. The committee plans to ask the hospital for more information about staffing.