13 Apr

Healthwatch Newcastle Newsletter – 11 April 2022

Tell us your story – questionnaire

We want to understand what services matter most to support your health, care and wellbeing. We also want to find out what the public, patients and carers would like us to look into further. This questionnaire is anonymous and closes on Friday 27 May. Completed questionnaires will be entered into a prize draw to win a £25 shopping voucher.  

If you live, work or use services in Newcastle or Gateshead we would love to hear from you.

Take the questionnaire at www.surveymonkey.com/r/6SVHHF2

Please email info@healthwatchnewcastle.org.uk or call us free on 0808 178 9282 for a paper copy.

Tell us your story — join Healthwatch online
Thursday 28 April, 11am to 12 noon or 5pm to 6pm, via Zoom

Please join Healthwatch Newcastle and Healthwatch Gateshead for this online discussion group. What is working well and what do you think may need improving? Join us to discuss what matters most to you and your local community.

If you can’t attend but have a question or want to tell us about your experiences of using health or social care services, please email info@healthwatchnewcastle.org.uk, call us free on 0808 178 9282 or text 0755 105 2751.

Book your free place at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/healthwatch-tell-us-your-story-tickets-313338603197

Share your experiences of loneliness

We all feel lonely from time to time — and our experience of loneliness varies from person to person.

Loneliness is not always the same as being alone. You can be perfectly happy alone with your own company and not feel lonely. However, some people can be surrounded by friends and family and still feel lonely.

Your feedback is vital in helping to improve services. If you’re 25 or under please share your experiences of loneliness in our short, confidential questionnaire.

Take the questionnaire at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/7WHHZBV


Experiences of dental services in Newcastle

Healthwatch teams across the North East region saw a significant increase in concerns about accessing NHS dental care during 2021. Eight local Healthwatch worked together to gather people’s experiences in the region. We published a report outlining our collective survey findings from March 2020 to January 2022.

We also published a report on the findings for people living in and accessing dental care in Newcastle from March 2020 to December 2021.

Read the ‘Experiences of dental services’ reports at www.healthwatchnewcastle.org.uk/about-us/reports


Tell us about your Healthwatch Star!

Our ‘Healthwatch Star’ award encourages patients and service users to tell us about the wonderful care that local health and social care professionals provide.

Our new campaign has a twist — and health and social care services can now nominate members of the public who have had a positive impact on their service!

Have you been on the receiving end of a small act of kindness, perhaps prompted by the #BeKind campaign? Who brightens up your day? Wherever someone makes a positive impact we would love to celebrate with you.

Please nominate your Healthwatch Star at www.tinyurl.com/HWNstar


Your care your way — the Accessible Information Standard

Do you have a condition that affects your ability to communicate or understand information? We’re campaigning with Healthwatch England for everyone to be provided with health and care information in the way they need it.

The Accessible Information Standard gives people who are disabled or have sensory loss legal rights. If you have a disability, impairment or sensory loss, or are a parent or carer of someone who does, you should expect:

  • To contact and be contacted by services in ways you find accessible.
  • Services to give information and correspondence in formats you can read and understand.
  • To be supported at appointments if needed.  
  • Health and care services to support you to communicate.

Find out more about our Your Care Your Way campaign at www.healthwatch.co.uk/yourcareyourway

Take the survey at www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/YourCareYourWay


Other news and events

St Oswald’s Hospice questionnaire
St Oswald’s Hospice is open to everyone who needs support, regardless of background or culture. However, they know that the referrals do not reflect our local communities and want to change this.

Please help the hospice understand why people are not being referred to them for care by taking a short questionnaire.

Let the hospice know what you think by Friday 22 April at www.stoswaldsuk.org/broadening-access-survey

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month
April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. Nearly 43,000 people are detected with bowel cancer each year in the UK. If it is diagnosed early it is treatable and curable. The symptoms of bowel cancer can include:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo.
  • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason.
  • A pain or lump in your tummy.

Bowel cancer screening in the UK uses a home test kit that’s sent automatically every 2 years for people aged 60 to 74 but has recently been extended to include 56-year-olds. Complete your bowel cancer screening test and please don’t ignore it, It could save your life!

Find out more at www.nhs.uk/conditions/bowel-cancer-screening

COVID-19 vaccines in Newcastle
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and give you the best protection against the disease. Check who is eligible for COVID-19 vaccines and boosters and where you can get a vaccine in Newcastle.

Read more at https://newcastlegatesheadccg.nhs.uk/covid-19-vaccine-drop-in-clinics

Newcastle ranks as the 12th ‘least healthy’ area in England
Newcastle ranks as the 12th ‘least healthy’ area of England according to the Office for National Statistics’ Health Index. The Health Index score measures factors such as access to health services, living conditions and behavioural risk factors.

Newcastle’s Health Index score decreased in the year before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The city’s highest score in the index is for health relating to ‘access to services’. This looks at the distance to GP services, distance to pharmacies, distance to sports or leisure facilities and internet access. The lowest score is for ‘personal wellbeing’.

The North East as a whole is ranked as the worst region.

Explore the data at https://tinyurl.com/c9jurtm8

Lost for words – improving access to healthcare for ethnic minority communities
Healthwatch England’s latest research shows that people who speak little or no English struggle at all points of their healthcare journey. These are often some of the most vulnerable in our society, for example, refugees and asylum seekers.

NHS England created the Accessible Information Standard in 2016. This makes it mandatory for all health and social care providers to provide information in accessible formats, such as in British Sign Language or easy read. However, the standard doesn’t apply to people who cannot speak English and plans to address the challenges they face in accessing healthcare information and communication support are unclear.

Find out more at https://tinyurl.com/HWElostforwords

Oral Health Foundation dental helpline
This charity has a dental helpline providing free and impartial advice on a range of topics, such as dental terms and treatment procedures, oral hygiene, current legislation and regulations, dental charges and complaints procedures.

Find out more at www.dentalhealth.org/dental-helpline

What services does NEAS provide?
The North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) has created a range of videos to inform you about its services and how and when to use them.

Find out more at https://bit.ly/3q2MVsS

About this newsletter
You can find copies of all our recent newsletters at www.healthwatchnewcastle.org.uk/about-us/resources

If you need this newsletter in another format please get in touch by emailing info@healthwatchnewcastle.org.uk or calling Freephone 0808 178 9282.