Thalia (CEO) and Jenny (Chair) were lucky enough to attend the Healthwatch England conference last week with over 100 other local Healthwatch. It’s important as we know that we are stronger together.

We heard from the new Healthwatch England Chair, Sir Robert Francis. He is best known for leading the public enquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS Hospital Trust. He believes that the NHS is ours and we should own making a difference to it.

There were also some exciting guest speakers such as Dan Wallings from the Kings Fund Policy Team who suggested that perhaps we expect too little of the NHS because it is free. In addition, Stephen Powis, National Medical Director NHS England, talked about the NHS 10 year plan which will be published towards the end of November. He said local Healthwatch would have to be part of its implementation:

fundamentally this is about people…. And we need to work together to make sure we have the best healthcare system in the world.

There was also a session on recent developments in mental health. And part of the conference focussed on social care and the upcoming green paper.

And finally, Healthwatch Bucks did get some time in the spotlight. Liz Sayce, Healthwatch England Committee Lead for Mental Health, highlighted our work on partners in maternity to the main conference. Our own CEO ran a session on digital engagement showcasing our marketing campaign and some of our local videos. She also appeared on main stage to talk about how Healthwatch Bucks is raising money to help support us in our work to make sure resident’s voices make a difference to health and social care. It’s great that the hard work being done by our staff and volunteers is being recognised at a national level.

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