28th September 2017
In High Peak we have always had a tradition of giving our free time to helping our community and making things better for the people around us. I have worked with many community groups in High Peak through the years and as MP it has been a privilege to meet even more groups and individuals who give their time in service to the community.
One area where such community spirit is vital is in our health and social services. Unfortunately, over the years of this government those services have come under severe strain in High Peak, some even disappearing altogether.
Last week I met with Healthwatch Derbyshire, a group dedicated to listening to the experiences of Derbyshire residents and giving them a say in influencing how local health and social care services are provided. They provide a way to review your local health services on their “Give Feedback” site where the public can give their opinions on what needs to improve. Healthwatch listen to what people have to say about their experiences of using health and social care services and feed this information through to those responsible for providing the services. They hold those who run the services to account and make sure the public’s voice influences how health and social services are planned and run.
Healthwatch Derbyshire are able to use the feedback people share with them to identify problems or issues in particular areas. For example, if people in an area are struggling to access their GP practice, Healthwatch can approach the GP with the information and ask them to address the problem.
Healthwatch Derbyshire is part of the wider national Healthwatch network that helps to shape services across the country, so a local High Peak issue can be raised at a national level.
It’s a great way for people in High Peak to rate their local health services and at a time when we are experiencing unprecedented short-falls in those services I think it is important that people from High Peak make their voice heard.
Healthwatch Derbyshire are also recruiting Voluntary Board Members to represent patients, service users and carers’ views on their board. It’s an opportunity for people from High Peak to shape, inform and influence health and social services in High Peak. I’d encourage anyone with a strong interest in health and social care to apply.
At a time when High Peak needs vast improvement in how and where our health services are delivered we need High Peak voices to be heard and High Peak people to make sure those who run services here are held to account.