Here’s a rundown of how our staff team engaged with the Reading community during February 2018:
2 February: We began February by attending the Reading Older People’s Working Group, where a final consultation meeting was held by Reading Borough Council (RBC), about the future of our organisation. To recap, the council had consulted on plans to make Healthwatch Reading and Healthwatch Wokingham work as one organisation, in order to save money. We were grateful for the many attendees at the various consultation meetings, who spoke about the importance of keeping Healthwatch local and the impact of our work. The RBC Policy Committee was due to consider the proposals on 12 March, but this has now been postponed, because the council ‘received a number of detailed responses’ to the consultation, which will ‘take some time to analyse fully’, the council’s website states. However Wokingham Borough Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee is still due to ask councillors to comment on two options set out in its paper on the proposals, at a meeting on March 7.
6, 15 & 27 February: We continued to visit local care homes for our latest project. We will start to publish interim findings soon and we will focus as much on the good things we find, as much as any areas for improvement. Sometimes it’s the little things that can make a big difference – such as the photos on the doors of residents’ rooms we observed at one home,
that really gave it a person-centred atmosphere.
9 February: We attended a Reading conference jointly run by community and women’s groups, and the NHS, about female genital mutilation (FGM). One of the key messages was about the need for better training for health professionals on harmful practices, cultural awareness, and the need to treat survivors with respect and dignity.
14 February: We attended an event at which GPs, researchers and members of the public heard from Oxford GP and researcher Dr Kamal Mahtani on ‘Why does it take so long to see a GP’. Dr Mahtani researches ways in which how GP surgeries are run can be improved.
22 February: We were among a large crowd gathered at an event run by Reading Voluntary Action discussing and sharing ideas on its campaign to end loneliness and social isolation in
Reading. Look out in your local library for pledge cards you can sign, to show, for example, you will regularly chat to a neighbour who might not have anyone else in their life.
23 February: We launched a brand new online portal for Reading people who need information and advice on resolving concerns or complaints about the NHS. There’s template letters, top tips, case studies and details about your rights. Visit the portal at: healthwatchreading.org.uk/services/our-nhs-complaints-advocacy-service/