Healthwatch East Sussex helped vulnerable residents living in emergency and temporary accommodation in Newhaven to get better health and social care support after hearing about the problems they were facing.
Many residents struggled with alcohol, substance abuse and mental health issues and were long-term users of a complex mix of health and social care services in addition to charity and community support services.
Working with Brighton and Hove City Council, Healthwatch East Sussex spoke to residents to find out what needed to change and captured these views in a report.
Residents told Healthwatch that they struggled to access the support they needed, and they had issues building trust and relationships with people working for formal agencies. Some people found the temporary accommodation intended to meet their need for emergency housing made them feel isolated, caused their mental health to deteriorate and increased their need for more complex support.
Thanks to our work, several changes have been made to ensure people get more of the support they need including:
- Increased investment in Welfare Support Officers and improved response times for residents when they are in crisis
- Access to basic services that were previously absent, such as laundry facilities and the allocation of bedding on arrival.
- A greater shared understanding of the problems faced by people living in emergency accommodation across local authority, health and care service borders, enabling services to work together in a more integrated way.
Every year, the Healthwatch Network Awards celebrate the many positive stories of how local Healthwatch are helping to make care better for thousands of people. The awards are an opportunity to demonstrate where local Healthwatch work within the local community to make sure health and social care services meet people’s needs.
Healthwatch listen to what people like about the NHS and social care and what needs to be improved. Their views are shared with health and care professionals, so that services can understand what people and their families want from care.
These awards recognise how people’s feedback is vital to improving services. Thanks to the many hundreds of thousands of people who shared their experiences with Healthwatch last year. This has led to positive changes to the way local health and care services are run.
The local Healthwatch shortlisted for 2019 Healthwatch Network Awards were picked from almost 150 award entries.
The winner from each category was chosen by a panel of external judges and announced at the Healthwatch England Annual Conference on 1 October 2019.
John Routledge, Director of East Sussex Community Voice delivering Healthwatch East Sussex said,
“This award recognises Healthwatch East Sussex as a national leader in listening to vulnerable communities and making sure their voices are heard by services. We would like to thank our dedicated staff, volunteers and community partners who worked so hard to win this award.
There is still much work to do make sure that homeless people have access to the support they need and Healthwatch East Sussex aim to use this award as a springboard for further action to amplify the voices of marginalised and vulnerable people in East Sussex and beyond.”
Imelda Redmond, CBE, National Director of Healthwatch England said,
“The Healthwatch Network Awards is a fantastic event which showcases the very best of local Healthwatch and it’s an opportunity for everyone to come together and celebrate the impact our teams and volunteers have in improving health and care across the country.”
The awards demonstrate the breadth of issues local Healthwatch work on every year. Their work makes sure people’s experiences are placed at the heart of the services they receive.
I’d like to acknowledge and thank all the network and congratulate those who took part, they have done their communities proud.”