Healthwatch Blackpool working together with Healthwatch Blackburn with Darwen, Healthwatch Cumbria and Healthwatch Lancashire receives highly commended recognition at national award

We are pleased to announce that Healthwatch Blackpool working alongside Healthwatch Together comprising of neighbouring local Healthwatch in Blackburn with Darwen, Cumbria and Lancashire have been recognised as highly commended at the 2019 Healthwatch Network Awards.

The work undertaken by Healthwatch Together has been recognised as ‘highly commended’ in this year’s Healthwatch Network Awards for the ‘Giving people the advice and information they need’ category.

Healthwatch Together collaborated to identify what matters most to women with learning disabilities when accessing breast and cervical screening by talking and listening to women with learning disabilities, families, careers and professionals. 

People with learning disabilities have significantly higher rates of mortality and morbidity than their non-disabled peers. There are significant differences between the uptakes of cancer screening programmes regionally and nationally between people with learning disabilities and the non-learning disability population.

The learning from the Healthwatch Togethers engagement enabled the four local Healthwatch’s to develop a localised toolkit to be used by those who work, support and care for women with learning disabilities with the aim of improving uptake of cervical and breast cancer screening across Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Every year, the Healthwatch Network Awards celebrate the many positive stories of how the local Healthwatch network is helping to make care better for thousands of people.The awards are an opportunity to demonstrate where local Healthwatch worked within the local community to make sure health and social care services meet people’s needs.

Healthwatch listen to what people like about the NHS and social care and what needs to be improved. Their views are shared with health and care professionals, so that services can understand what people and their families want from care.

These awards recognise how people’s feedback is vital to improving services. Thanks to the many hundreds of thousands of people who shared their experiences with Healthwatch last year. This has led to positive changes to the way local health and care services are run.

The local Healthwatch shortlisted for 2019 Healthwatch Network Awards were picked from almost 150 award entries.

The winner and the highly commended from each category were chosen by a panel of external judges and announced last night at the Healthwatch England Annual Conference on 1 October 2019.

Sheralee Turner-Birchall, Strategic Lead for Healthwatch Blackpool said:

I am delighted with the national recognition we have received for our work in shining a spot light on this topic and proud of the toolkits we have produced to support greater uptake of screening. Screening can detect early signs of cancer and enabling those who would normally be reluctant to attend screening is really important, because early treatment is more likely to be successful and the chances of survival are much better.

I would like to say a huge thank you to all the women, their families/carers and professionals for sharing their experiences and knowledge with us and also to our neighbouring Healthwatch colleagues, without whom this project would not have achieved the meaningful outcome and impact we are being recognised for.

Imelda Redmond, CBE, National Director of Healthwatch England said,

The Healthwatch Network Awards is a fantastic event which showcases the very best of local Healthwatch and it’s an opportunity for everyone to come together and celebrate the impact our teams and volunteers have in improving health and care across the country.

The awards demonstrate the breadth of issues local Healthwatch work on every year. Their work makes sure people’s experiences are placed at the heart of the services they receive.

I’d like to acknowledge and thank all the network and congratulate those who took part, they have done their communities proud.