To mark the start of the new year, the Healthwatch England network has published its list of top priorities for 2019. These set out the key health and care topics Healthwatch's local teams will be working on over the year ahead.
In 2018, Healthwatch engaged with over 400,000 people regarding their experiences of care.
Drawing on the qualitative data it collects, each local Healthwatch works with its community to set out a number of priorities for their area. Healthwatch England has analysed 139 of these local plans and compiled a national list of the top issues.
The Healthwatch top priorities for 2019 are:
- Primary care (including access to GPs).
- Children and young people.
- Mental health.
- Services working better together.
- Adult social care, including care homes and care at home.
The projects undertaken by Healthwatch will build on the day-to-day activities of the network visiting hospitals, GPs and care homes etc and engaging with local people to gather their views.
At a national level, Healthwatch aims to use the combined findings to provide insight for decision makers across the NHS, social care sector and Whitehall about the sorts of improvements people want to see.
Sir Robert Francis, Chair of Healthwatch England said, 'Taking the time to listen to people’s experiences of care and what they want to see done differently is enlightening and often generates a range of practical solutions that can help services better meet the demands being placed on them.
'This is what we do at Healthwatch. We take the time to listen, and encourage others across health and care to do the same, building vital insight that helps services make the right changes first time.
'As well as GPs, it’s really encouraging to see the needs of young people as a key area of focus. The fact that social care appears in the top five for the third year in row also shows the increasing attention communities want to see placed on creating a system that works for them.'