Healthwatch Reading has won a national award for its project looking at why people go to the emergency department of Royal Berkshire Hospital.
We were named as winners of the ‘engagement in service improvement’ category of Healthwatch England’s annual awards. Our chief executive Mandeep Kaur Sira (pictured), collected the award at a special event on 6 July 2017 in Nottingham. The awards attracted more than 150 entries.
Helped by volunteers, Healthwatch Reading staff visited the hospital on seven consecutive days at various times and spoke to 11 per cent of all people who went to A&E that week. We discovered that more than half of people had sought help from other services before going to the emergency department, and of these, nearly 8 in 10 people said the service they contacted, had advised them to go to the emergency department. We also found people wanted changes in the A&E department itself.
In response, Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Groups said that GPs would be reviewing some patients to check they had care in place to prevent unnecessary A&E visits, and the hospital also said it would be making improvements to signs, check-in and other parts of the waiting area.
Rebecca Norris, team manager for Healthwatch Reading, said: “We’re proud our work has been recognised nationally. We thank local people for sharing their experiences and trusting us to speak up on their behalf with local decision-makers. We also couldn’t have done this project without the help of volunteers from Reading’s two Patient Voice groups.”
Jane Mordue, Chair of Healthwatch England, said: “Once again, the Healthwatch network have highlighted the fantastic work that they do. The wide range of submissions, and the strength of those shortlisted, is testament to how the Healthwatch network is using people’s voices to make a difference to health and social care services.”