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Our recent work


Access to GP services for people with communication support needs

In the summer of 2016, we published a report which showed the barriers faced by d/Deaf or visually impaired people or those with a learning disabilities when visiting their GP.

The report was the result of a year of research with different groups of patients in Camden and it made a series of recommendations based on what local people told us about their experiences.

Key findings

The key findings showed that difficulties arise if services do not adjust their usual ways of communicating to take into account the different communication needs of disabled people.

Healthwatch Camden concluded that a positive experience of visiting the GP is too often dependent on a stroke of luck or which staff members happen to be on duty that day.

Despite the current economic climate which means resources are tight, Many of Camden’s GPs are keen to respond and improve the service they offer to their patients who have communication support needs.

Healthwatch Camden is continuing work with local GPs and practice staff and with the Local Medical Committee to encourage service providers to make some of the adjustments suggested in our recommendations. 

How good is your service user involvement work?

We developed a unique survey instrument designed to assess the quality of service user involvement work in health and social care.

It’s called the ‘Audit of Involvement’ and collects documentary and verbal evidence against a set of nine quality criteria. The documentary and verbal evidence is then assessed using an agreed judgement framework.

The audit’s been field tested with the Camden Clinical Commissioning Group and the Camden and Islington Foundation Trust. It’s helped to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their service user involvement work and indicated action for improvement where needed.

“The Audit is a powerful means of strengthening service user involvement and quality improvement.”  Claire Johnston, Director of Nursing & People, Camden and Islington Foundation Trust

If you are interested in finding out more about how our Audit of Involvement service could help you, please contact Anna Wright, Deputy Director – Policy Lead at anna.wright@healthwatchcamden.co.uk 

Sexual Health Services Consultation with Bangladeshi, Somali and African women

Our expertise in local Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) health and social care issues resulted in Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL) commissioning us to consult with Bangladeshi, Somali and African women on future options for locating the sexual health services currently provided at Archway Centre (Islington), Margaret Pyke Centre (Camden) and Mortimer Market Centre (Camden).

Three focus groups were held - two for Bangladeshi women and one for Somali and African women.

We did one of the focus groups in mother tongue which was very much appreciated by the participants.

We’re pleased to have worked with CNWL on their sexual services health consultation.

We’re always open to working in partnership with local organisations including BME groups that work with our diverse community. Together we can shape a better future for our health and social care services. 

Our work in residential care homes

Part of our remit is to carry out visits to local health and social care providers’ services. This is to find out how they’re being run, if service users’ voices are being heard and to make recommendations where there are areas for improvement.

The Health and Social Care Act allows local Healthwatch authorised representatives to observe service delivery and talk to service users, their families and carers on premises such as hospitals, residential homes, GP practices, dental surgeries, optometrists and pharmacies.

We’re keen to seek out the voices of those people who can be least heard: which includes people living in residential care homes. In Camden there are currently seven residential care homes for older people. A total of approximately 400 people are resident in these homes.

In 2016 national charity, Independent Age carried out research looking at the things that older people and their families want to know when choosing a care home.

Quality Indicators

From the research they developed a set of 10 Quality Indicators for care homes – things that all care homes should be able to provide evidence to publicly demonstrate that they are achieving.

The quality indicators will be used to call for better, more consistent collecting and reporting of key data by all care homes. This will help older people and families make better, more informed decisions about care homes, while also helping the CQC, local authorities and CCGs to build up a comprehensive picture of quality in care homes – something that is currently difficult to do.

We used these Quality Indicators to talk to staff, residents and family members in each of the older people’s residential care homes in Camden to see how they met the 10 Quality Standards and to test how easy it was to gather the relevant information during our visits.

Care home reports

We then created a report of each care home. Through this work we wanted to:

  • Provide a trustworthy source of information to help potential residents and their families gain a clearer understanding of the service offered by residential care homes in Camden.
  • Seek out and share best practice and provide feedback to care home providers based on our observations.
  • Make recommendations for improvements to care homes based on feedback from staff, residents and their family or the observations of our volunteers.
  • Test both the content and practical application of the Independent Age 10 Quality Indicators.

We’ve now published the reports you can see them here.  We hope that our research combined with that of Independent Age will not only help local people when choosing a care home for their loved ones, but also it will be a starting point for national standards of care.