What volunteers do
Last week our focus was on the impact that the closure of care homes and the cumulative loss of beds is having on the health and care system in Liverpool.
As last night's BBC Panorama showed, the difficulties faced by home-care providers is also putting pressure on the system.
Home-care providers are struggling to recruit and retain enough staff to meet the growing demand for care packages in Liverpool. Hospitals and re-ablement facilities such as the Granby Hub cannot send people home until they're sure that a suitable care package is in place to help them to live safely and independently.
If you have a story to tell about your home-care provider or a struggle to get a care package in place for yourself or a family member, we want to hear from you.
We want to make sure that the voices of people who use home-care services are at the heart of discussions about the best ways to solve the current crisis.
15 March 2017
Our manager Sarah went on the BBC Radio Merseyside breakfast show this morning to discuss our press release about care home closures.
You can listen again here: BBC Radio Merseyside - Sarah Thwaites
Have you used NHS health services in the past few years?
Would you like to say something about the way you were treated? Talked to? Cared for? Listened to?
Would you like the chance to share your patient experience on film?
We are looking for 6-8 people who would like to be part of our short promotional film exploring experiences of being a patient.
To be filmed in Liverpool - Spring 2017.
If you are interested in taking part or would like further information please contact us for an informal chat. Call 0300 77 77 007, email firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a private message on Facebook.
Happy International Women's Day from Healthwatch Liverpool!
We had a great visit to Liverpool Women's Hospital on Monday and spoke to lots of women and their family members about the services they receive there.
We want to hear from as many people as possible about their experience of health and social care services in Liverpool so don't worry if you missed us on Monday. You can still share your story today!
*** Liverpool Women's Hospital Listening Event - Monday 6th March 2017 10am - 4pm ***
After our visit to Alder Hey last week, this coming Monday we're going to Liverpool Women's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
We'll be there from 10am - 4pm talking to patients about what works well and what could be improved about services at the hospital.
If you see us there, come and say hello. We want to hear your stories!
*** Alder Hey Children's Hospital Listening Event - 27/02/2017 1pm-6pm ***
This coming Monday - 27th February 2017 - we're off to Alder Hey Children's Hospital and Charity to speak to families about their experiences of care and treatment there.
We want to hear what works well and what could be improved about the services at Alder Hey.
We'll be there from 1pm-6pm so if you see us, come and say hello.
Did you see the report about social care packages in Liverpool on BBC North West Tonight last night?
Cllr Paul Brant - Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care - puts it plainly: "I think anybody who looks at the current situation should be worried... and if they're not worried they don't understand it"
You can watch an abridged version of the full report on the BBC website or catch the full report on iPlayer
Do you have a story to tell about trying to get a Liverpool City Council care package for yourself or a loved one? We want to hear from you.
This Valentine's Day, take a moment to think about the health of your heart
*** Call out for men to participate in focus group to shape a new service for men in mental health crisis ***
James' Place will open in summer 2017 and be the first non-clinical centre in the UK for men either suffering severe emotional distress or at high risk of suicide.
Located in the heart of Liverpool it will aim to provide immediate and direct access to trained mental heath experts away from the white walls and waiting lists of hospitals. James' Place will be a center that offers urgent face-to-face support for patients who are experiencing a crisis but are not in touch with mental health services.
As the partners involved in it's creation near the completion of the centre, they would like to establish a key focus group of male advisors (over 18) on Monday 27th February 11.30am-1.30pm at University of Liverpool to advise on the design of the internal environment, help with evaluating the impact of James' Place and be involved in peer support services. Lunch will be available and a £25 payment can be claimed for your time.
Your views and expertise could help to ensure that they create the best possible environment for those individuals who will be accessing James' Place. Please contact Pooja Saini on email@example.com if you would like to be involved or complete the short questionnaire at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/JPQUESTIONNAIRE where your views can still be given on the new centre.
TOMORROW - You are invited to 'An Exhibition of Art on Prescription' at Brownlow Health at Princes Park between 4pm and 6pm.
This follows a five week NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group pilot run by Big Love Sista CIC.
Would you like to see something like this in your GP surgery?
*** Read our response to the resignation of Liverpool City Council's Director of Adult Social Care ***
In the past few days Samih Kalakeche has tendered his resignation as adult social care director of Liverpool City Council. In an interview with the Observer at the weekend he said "frankly I can't see social services surviving after two years. That's the absolute maximum. If we don't do something within the next six months, I believe social services will not exist by 2018-19". We are obviously very concerned to hear such a stark warning.
We share his concern about the future of social care services in the city. Liverpool's social care budget is tighter than ever before after years of cuts to local authority finances and the council has more cuts to make this year. We are already hearing that people have to wait too long for care assessments and that it is often difficult to get their needs met by care services that are underfunded.
The social care crisis is one of the hidden causes of the increased pressure on the NHS this winter. These are vital services that help reduce hospital admissions and can speed up hospital discharge. If hospitals can't send people home with an appropriate package of care in place or find them a suitable care home placement this can mean that they remain in hospital longer than they need to be. If people return home with insufficient care in place then their risk of readmission increases.
Whether in a care home or cared for at home with care workers coming in for support, people should be able to rely on safe, quality care that meeting their needs with humanity and dignity. Too often, we hear that this is not always the case.
Sarah Thwaites, Manager of Healthwatch Liverpool commented "we are very sorry to hear about Samih's resignation. His commitment to doing the best he could for people in Liverpool who need care was evident. Despite the challenges of the last few years we felt reassured that there was someone in charge who understood why these services and the people who rely on them matter.
"We hope that a way can be found to support social care services in the city. We are urging people to speak up, to tell us why care services matter to them and their families. Ageing and ill health come to us all - sometime gradually, sometimes suddenly as a result of an accident or health crisis. We all have a responsibility to make sure that our most vulnerable residents can access the care and support that they need when they need it."
It's Time To Talk Day 2017 - talking about mental health doesn’t need to be difficult. It can be as simple as making time to have a cup of tea or go for a walk, and listening to someone talk about how they feel.
Being open about mental health and ready to listen can make a positive difference to someone’s life.
Thursday 2nd February is Time to Talk Day.
Conversations about mental health change lives so take some time to get talking about your mental health and wellbeing with a friend or work colleague. The more we talk about our mental health, the sooner we can end the stigma around it.
Find out how you can get involved at www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday
Yesterday it was #YoungCarersAwarenessDay.
Louise from Barnardo's Action with Young Carers service was on BBC Radio Merseyside with Katie, a young carer from Liverpool to speak about the impact that being a young carer can have on a young person's life.
You can listen to the interview here (start listening at 48mins): http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04nkhmz
As Louise mentions, if you think you might know someone who is a young carer but isn't getting the support they need, you can call us here at Healthwatch Liverpool and we'll put you in touch with lots of services locally who can help.
As we mentioned last week, Healthwatch England have published a list of people's 'Top 5 Health Priorities for 2017'.
This week we're focusing on the number 2 issue: Social Care.
We want you to tell us your experiences of accessing social care services in Liverpool either for yourself, a family member or friend. We'll then make sure that people's voices are at the heart of decisions about care services in Liverpool.
Social Care is a rising priority for people in Liverpool as services come under increasing pressure to meet the rising demand of an ageing population. If people can't access good quality care when they need it either in their own home or in a dedicated care home then this has consequences for people's individual health and wellbeing and for local health services in a wider sense.
Budgets are tighter than ever before after years of cuts to local authority finances. A number of care homes have closed, others have faced problems and many now charge 'top up fees' which make them too expensive for many local families. There is little choice for many people needing a care home place.
Home care services are also finding it hard to meet people's needs and care packages can take a while to be put in place. All this make it harder for people to be discharged from hospital. Patients and their families tell us how stressful this is but we want to hear from more people with their own stories to tell.
If hospitals can't send people home with an appropriate package of care in place or find them a suitable care home placement this can mean that they remain in hospital longer than they need to be. This is bad news for the health of the individual and puts pressure on hospitals which are already at or close to capacity.
Healthwatch Liverpool Chair Lynn Collins says "The social care crisis is one of the hidden causes of the difficulties facing the NHS this winter. We know that Liverpool City Council are having to deal with large cuts in funding since 2010 but it's important that we find ways to ensure that our most vulnerable residents are able to access the care and support that they need.
'Speak Up' and tell us your stories about social care services in Liverpool so we can add your voice to others highlighting where improvements can and should be made."
Healthwatch England have published their list of people's 'Top 5 Health Priorities for 2017'
Here's a brief rundown of the Top 5:
* Mental Health - including mental health services for children and young people
* Social care – including care homes and services provided in peoples’ homes
* Primary care – such as GP services
* Children and young people’s experiences of health and social care
* The experiences of seldom heard groups, including BAME communities
The more people we hear from, the more the work that we do at Healthwatch Liverpool will reflect the views and priorities of local people. So #SpeakUp and tell us what you think we should be looking at in more depth in 2017!
Four options for the future of services provided by Liverpool Women's Hospital were published on Friday (6 January 2017).
The options are:
* Relocate women's and neonatal services to a new hospital building on the same site as the new Royal Liverpool Hospital
* Relocate women's and neonatal services to a new hospital building on the same site as Alder Hey Children's Hospital
* Make major improvements to Liverpool Women's Hospital on the current Crown Street site
* Make smaller improvements to the current Crown Street site.
The options are included in a draft pre-consultation business case (PCBC), which was presented to the Board of Liverpool Women's on Friday.
The next stage of the consultation is likely to start in June 2017.
We hope you got everything you asked for this Christmas!
For those of you who had to deal with the things you didn’t ask for like unexpected trips to A&E at Alder Hey Children's Hospital and Charity, Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust or the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, the Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust walk-in centres or emergency dental appointments we’d like to hear from you.
Perhaps you’d like to praise the dedicated staff who work through the Festive period or maybe you were disappointed with the care you received?
Please take a few minutes either now or in the New Year to share your experiences and help make health services in Liverpool the best that they can be for everyone
*** Our Christmas Opening Hours ***
December 23rd 09:00 - 17:00
December 24th - 27th CLOSED
December 28th 09:00 - 17:00
December 29th 09:00 - 17:00
December 30th 09:00 - 17:00
December 31st - January 2nd - CLOSED
January 3rd 2017 09:00 - 17:00
There will be no drop-in service between Christmas and New Year. Visits can be arranged by appointment only.
Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, has launched a new sepsis awareness campaign, supported by The UK Sepsis Trust, to raise awareness of the key symptoms of sepsis amongst parents of children aged 0-4.
Acting quickly could save a child’s life. The campaign encourages parents of children aged 0-4 to go to A&E immediately or call 999 if they have any of the following symptoms:
• Looks mottled, bluish or pale
• Is very lethargic or difficult to wake
• Feels abnormally cold to touch
• Is breathing very fast
• Has a rash that does not fade when you press it
• Has a fit or convulsion
The campaign will be launched with a series of new videos explaining the key symptoms, fronted by campaigner Melissa Mead, and a number of other families affected by the condition, as well as the release of posters and leaflets to help raise awareness.
Today we're at Broadgreen Hospital listening to patients' views about the care they receive here. We want to hear what's working well and what could be improved. By hearing about your experiences we can help improve services for everyone.
Today we're saying a fond farewell & a happy 60th to our Healthwatch Support Officer, Willie Gibbons. Thanks so much for all your hard work & many hours of laughter, you'll be very missed xx
'City Takeover' is a fortnight-long series of events, supported by local celebrities including international kick boxer Lee Charles, aimed at encouraging people to try out new activities for free.
For more info visit www.mindapples.org
2016's celebrations are bigger than ever with Liverpool Mental Heatlh Consortium presenting the first 'Liverpool Mental Health Festival' running from 1st - 16th October and incorporating World Mental Health Day itself on 10th October.
We'll be taking part in the Williamson Square Celebration on Saturday 8th October from 10am-5pm. There will be stalls, information, street theatre, roller skaing demonstrations, drumming and lots of opportunities to take part.
We'll have a Healthwatch Liverpool stall and will be involved with in the Student Health and Wellbeing Group stall. Come along and say hello!
For more information about this and all the events in the Festival visit www.liverpoolmentalhealth.org/festival
Follow Liverpool Mental Health Consortium on Twitter and use the hashtag #LMHF2016
If you have any questions about services for young people please do get in touch #AskHWL
We had a great two days at the LJMU Welcome Events, hundreds of new students to our city now registered with GP's & dentists.
We are looking forward for Liverpool Students' Union Events.
Join us at this year's Netherley show is on 17th September 2016, on the British Legion Field on Wood Lane!
We will be there!
Healthwatch Liverpool is recruiting (again!)
We are looking to recruit to a part time Support post to complete the Healthwatch Liverpool team.
Saturday we went to Picnic in the Park. We were asking you what we can do to improve our health.
We had an amazing time at The Venny, Speke The Adventure Playground. The weather was incredible and we talked to many parents about health and social care.
Lynne will be at The County Children's Centre on Tuesday 11am - 1pm with our lovely students Cintia & Kristi.
Healthwatch Liverpool visited Polish community - Merseyside Polonia to talk about health services.
Join the Healthwatch Liverpool Team!
We are looking to recruit two Information and Project Officers to join the Healthwatch Liverpool team. For more information about the role please download the documents from LARIDAE website
We were at Liverpool Guild of Students University Square on Monday.
Come and have a chat with us if you're Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust today!
Just to let you know that we are experiencing what we hope are temporary problems with our emails and website. The host of our web platform, which also runs our email addresses, ran into major problems over the weekend affecting their VPS servers.
This does not only affect our website but all their other VPS customers too. They are working to restore data and access as quickly as they can but for the moment we are in the difficult position of having to wait for them as there is nothing that we can do at this end.
In the meantime any emails can be sent to us on this email address:
If you are emailing a specific member of the team it would be useful to add their name to the subject line. We will be back in touch to let you know when normal email access is restored.
Other ways of accessing Healthwatch Liverpool are still in full working order - phone, text, visit, social media. Our social media accounts and the directories we maintain (www.livewellliverpool.info and www.wellbeingliverpool.org.uk) are unaffected.
Please pass this message on to anyone who may be trying to access us by email this morning.
Thank you for your patience!
Sarah and the Healthwatch team
Our new lovely posters arrived!
Today we're at Alder Sports and Social Club talking about all things health & care related, come & say hi!
Our placement students & Val attended the International Women's Day event at the Town Hall & asked the question "What would you change in Your Community". These are some of the great responses we received:
Today we said goodbye to one of our lovely volunteers Sanaie who starts a new job in the big smoke next week! Thank you for all your kindness and support Sanaie, you'll be greatly missed.
Yupiiii! Our new banners arrived! Well done Andrew W for this beautiful design!
This Girl Can Liverpool took a part in The Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile.
Well done for all brave swimmers!
"Well done to our super woman manager, Sarah Thwaites!" - Lynne Butterworth
Today we had our Volunteers Meeting and interactive Patient Exprinece Training! Thank you all for comming!
International Brain Awareness Week at The Brain Charity
We had a lovely time at The Clock Community Centre in Everton. Our fabulous students - Cintia & Kristi - did a fabulous job of speaking to the community asking them to #NameOneThing they do to keep well. We also managed a quick trip to Anfield Stadium!
Today you could meet us at PAL Multicultural Center to learn how to look after your lungs and heart.
We were asking people to #NameOneThing
What helps you keep well?
What keeps your heart and lungs healthy?
As part of Wellbeing Week, Healthwatch Liverpool had a stall in the foyer of LJMU's Aldham Robarts Library. We were joined there by the university's wellbeing choir!
Liverpool University student union was holding Wellbeing Fair at Carnatic Halls on Wednesday 2nd March. There was lots of information and activities to be involved with. Healthwatch Liverpool was there as well!
Today we joined a Community Health event organised by the Community Health Ambassadors Team - Health Information Event at Wellesbourne Primary School!
Welcome to Liverpool for our new Erasmus+ students!
Krisztina and Cintia!
Happy Birthday Sanaie!!!
One of our lovely volunteers, Sanaie, has a special birthday today. We would like to wish him all the best.
Healthwatch Liverpool was present at the Volunteering Fair at Liverpool Guild of Students today!
To volunteer with Healthwatch Liverpool visit:www.healthwatchliverpool.co.uk/get-involved
Yesterday we were at The Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital talking to patients about their experiences of the service. If you have any feedback you would like to leave us, send us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear from you!
During the 'Fit N Fifty' event at Wavetree Sports centre our volunteers met the Lord Mayor! You could see our green T-Shirts "Let's Talk" everywhere there!
Many thanks to all those who attended our round table discussion this morning on student mental health.
There is a lot to work on to improve the experiences of students who need it – and to help prevent people from encountering problems in the first place. Looking forward to working with you all on this!
With representatives present of the University of Liverpool, LJMU,Liverpool Hope University, The City of Liverpool College, GP practices,Talk Liverpool, NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, service commissioners, Liverpool Guild of Students, Liverpool Students' Union, students and Luciana Berger(Shadow Minister for Mental Health), there was a wealth of experience and expertise in the room.
Everyone pooled their experiences on subjects like:
• The scale of need, with more and more students studying in Liverpool and the increased tensions and difficulties that many students face, more students than ever need support in tackling mental health problems that they encounter
• The range and extent of services available to help students who encounter problems with their mental health
• The importance of people being able to access help as soon as possible
• The barriers at the moment to people seeking and receiving help early – the stigma around mental health, waiting times for some services and not knowing where to start to get help.
If you would like to know more about students health or to get involved in our student project visit:
Healthwatch Liverpool was present at LJMU SU ReFresher Fair.
If you would like to know more about students health or to get involved in our student project visit:
We had some very talented children joining Healthwatch Liverpool event at PAL Multi cultural centre!
Folk of all ages plunged into the Irish Sea on New Year’s Day to support R Appeal. Healthwatch Liverpool was represented there as well!
Every year, we make the same promises, and every year we fail miserably! So, this New Year Healthwatch Liverpool New Year's resolutions are simple and manageable. Make the best of each and every day in 2016!
Thank you to everyone who has shared their views and experiences with Healthwatch Liverpool in 2015!
A huge thank you also goes to our volunteers who have made a massive contribution this year.
We wish you all a wonderful, stress-free and healthy time and we are looking forward for 2016!
The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust and Healthwatch Liverpool invitied patients, the public and staff to share their views and experiences of hospital services.
Healthwatch Liverpool took a part in LiverpoolWelcomes.
Winter Warmer Event at All Saints Church. Healthwatch Liverpool was there as well!
The Winter Survival Community Event: Over 60 exhibitors, from a wide range of organisations including energy companies, charities, council services and community groups were there - so was HEALTHWATCH LIVERPOOL!
Healthwatch Liverpool visited Lifestyles Walton Sports and Wellbeing Centre.
We had a lovely time in Altcross family centre! We talked about Healthwatch Liverpool and how we can help you to find the right health service.
Liverpool Community Health and Healthwatch Liverpool had information session for Polish speaking families in Kensington Family Centre.
We are ready for our Partners Event at The Women's Organisation!
We had some really lovely opinions about our NHS and some great suggestions too! Can you spot yourself? #NameOneThing at World Mental Health Day 2015 in Liverpool.
To promote as many services as possible Healthwatch Liverpool took a part in Twitter Chase!
Healthwatch Liverpool welcomed to Liverpool all new and coming back students!
If you're new to Liverpool, welcome! While you're getting to know the city and the University campus, it's also worth taking some time to get to know the health and support services in Liverpool. You might have seen us at the freshers fairs whether you're a student at the University of Liverpool, LJMU or Hope University - we were there!