Here’s a run-down of what our staff have been up to across Reading in the past four weeks during May 2o17:
May was a busy month for the Healthwatch Reading staff team:
12 May: We attended a patient experience workshop run by Royal Berkshire Hospital to discuss how patients could be more involved in designing hospital services, such as upcoming changes to the emergency department. One of the questions that came up from hospital staff was, ‘how do we talk to ‘hard-to-reach’ communities? We are asked this a lot, and our answer is always the same: communities aren’t hard to reach – you just have to go out to where they are, help them overcome barriers to having their say, and then listen.
19 May: We attended an excellent dementia conference, hosted by Acre (Reading’s equalities organisation). A diverse audience of 120 people heard talks on topics such as young-onset dementia and the importance of diet and faith in dementia care. There was also a great Jamaican choir that reinforced the therapeutic nature of music and singing.
30 May: We gave a presentation to a Reading Advice Network meeting at the Civic Centre. RAN aims to connect all local charities who give information and advice to local people, to discuss common issues and share best practice. Our presentation gave an overview of supporting people with mental health needs. This ranges from self-referral to NHS services like Talking Therapies or to vital voluntary sector organisations such as Reading Your Way, or Graft; through to seeking a referral from a GP for specialist care for serious problems. Some people are also entitled to advocates to help them have their say. If you’re unsure who can help you best, Healthwatch Reading’s team is always happy to talk things through.
Last but not least, we are pleased to announce that we have recruited a new Advocacy Services Manager, Phil Murphy. Phil is a former mental health nurse and you may already know his friendly face from his previous front-desk experience assisting people to navigate the Elevate hub in Reading Central Library, where we are based.
And finally save the date! 18 July 2017 is our annual general meeting open to the public, and we’re pleased to announced the guest speaker will be Steve McManus, chief executive of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. We’d love to hear what burning questions about hospital services you’d like him to answer – send us your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone us 0118 937 2295.