How we do it

Healthwatch Blackpool has a number of tools for engaging with members of the public to gather their views and experiences.

Our regular activities include:

Enter & View 

Enter and View in health and social care settings – engagement undertaken in a variety of settings e.g. care homes, hospitals, GPs etc. enabling the public to share their experience.

Patient Engagement Days 

Similar to Pop Ups but undertaken in health and social care settings.

Mystery Shopping

We use this approach when appropriate to anonymously evaluate the patient/service user experience.

Healthwatch Blackpool staff and volunteers visit health and care providers anonymously, acting as though they are using the service.

This enables the mystery shoppers to assess how well the providers perform, in terms of customer service and information provision. Mystery shoppers complete questionnaires after each visit, recording their findings.

Mystery shopping only shows us how the provider is performing on that particular day. Mystery shopping is also subjective, as shoppers record their personal view of how they are treated by the provider they visit. However, it is great tool to use when we want to explore specific services in more depth. We often use it in combination with other types of research.

Pop Ups

Staffed information points designed to capture public feedback in a range of venues and settings including bus stations, colleges, credit unions, homeless shelters, and other targeted community locations

Care Circles

Focus groups designed to provide ‘round the table’ discussions in a safe and familiar setting. These are adapted dependent on needs and regularly reviewed to ensure engagement is accessible and inclusive.

PLACE Assessments

Good environments matter but don’t just happen. Patient-led Assessments of the Care Environment (PLACE) help hospital organisations understand how well they are meeting the needs of their patients and identify where improvements can be made.

Healthwatch Blackpool’s volunteers have supported ten trusts and independent organisations by taking part in 35 days of PLACE assessments this year and the results have now been published by Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), the organisation responsible for ensuring all health settings conduct the assessments.

PLACE assessments are undertaken annually across all hospitals, hospices and independent treatment centres proving NHS funded care across the UK.

Hosting Event

We facilitate partnership events in local community settings giving the public, voluntary, charity and faith sector organisations a platform to learn about and scrutinise upcoming changes in the NHS.

Case Studies

Through our online reporting system ‘Have Your Say’ where the public can raise concerns or share best practice about local health and social care services.


We have a dedicated phone number and web site to enable our signposting function. Additionally, all work undertaken by Healthwatch Blackpool is shared publicly and is easily accessible, e.g. a patient thinking of changing GP or finding a care home for a loved one might consider one of our reports when making a decision rather than a more technical document, such as CQC reports. We encourage the public to sign up for e-bulletins so that they are kept informed on any reported findings within health and social care services locally.