Time to Celebrate…
3rd June 2020
Celebrating has taken on a very different meaning over the last few months.
We have celebrated the work daily of all our key workers and the recovery of many people from Coronavirus. Today, Healthwatch East Sussex wants to celebrate its unsung heroes… Our volunteers!
In Volunteer Week never has it felt more fitting to celebrate and say a massive Thank You for the work and achievements of our volunteers.
As Healthwatch volunteers they are often at the frontline when it comes to speaking to people who use health and care services, whether it is talking to homeless people in Eastbourne, residents and staff in care homes or patients in hospital environments, they support our activities all hours of the day, night and at weekends, making sure we hear as many diverse views as possible.
We had to change the way we engaged with people during this crisis, and they were there again supporting us to develop strategies to continue our engagement plans. We’ve all learned new digital skills, using ‘Zoom’ ‘Teams’ and ‘WhatsApp’ to maintain regular contact as well as establishing a very visible presence on social media platforms.
Elizabeth Mackie, Volunteer Manager added
“I’ve known for many years what a fantastic team of volunteers we have, most have been with us for several years but over the last few months, they once again stepped up, demonstrating their dedication and commitment to Healthwatch. Even during this crisis, new volunteers are coming forward; and we are keen to build on that community spiritedness we witnessed across the country with tens of thousands of people coming forward to volunteer. There is still much more to do as we come out of this crisis and we need to increase our team of volunteers to deal with the health and care landscape post Coronavirus.”
One of our Volunteers talked about their experiences:
“I have volunteered with Healthwatch East Sussex for several years now, but I find that I am still enjoying new experiences. This past year I undertook a PLACE visit (Patient Led Assessment of the Care Environment) to a secure mental health unit a clinical setting I had never experienced before. I also joined in with visits to care homes which the Care Quality Commission (CQC) had rated outstanding and good. It was interesting to visit the better care homes in East Sussex as prior to this HWES had visited some of the not so good. I now have a better idea of what makes a care home a good place to live and exercise choice. I also joined in visits to the Emergency Dental Services in Eastbourne and Lewes and spoke to patients about their experiences of the service. So, three firsts for me personally and two firsts for Healthwatch East Sussex.”
What about the health and care services our volunteers visit?
This is what Dr Adrian Bull, Chief Executive Officer at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust added when the Trust recently received ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’ ratings in their recent Care Quality Commission inspection:
Dear Healthwatch Volunteers,
Following the CQC inspection results for ESHT, I am writing to thank you directly for your contribution to the improvements that we have been able to make. You have given of your time to support us in many ways – through the 24 hour engagement activity which is now its third year, through Observations of Care activity, focussing on older people with dementia experiences as in-patients, through the Independent Lay Review of the Trust Complaints process, and in other ways.
This has given us really helpful feedback and ensured that we have focussed on the aspects of care that most needed it. You have also helped us to strengthen the involvement of patients and the public in our work. ESCV’s Healthwatch has always shown impressive innovation in doing all these things and I know that my colleagues at ESHT are glad to work with you on these initiatives.
With best wishes
If you would like to find out more about our many varied roles and opportunities, visit our website, or call Elizabeth Mackie or Sue Wells at Healthwatch using the contact details below:
Elizabeth Mackie, Volunteer and Community Liaison Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org (07794) 097719
Sue Wells, Administrator
email@example.com (07794) 097713
Healthwatch East Sussex
32 St Leonards Road