HEALTHWATCH Shropshire played a role during the past year in keeping the public updated about the Covid 19 pandemic and the constant changes during the early days and weeks of the vaccination programme.

Its recently-published Annual Report 2020-21, highlights the charity’s successes as the team continued to listen to people’s experiences of health and social care services during this challenging time and shared the information with decision-makers.

During the year, Healthwatch Shropshire published 11 reports, based on information gathered through surveys and online focus groups, that included 139 findings and 40 recommendations for improvement.

The reports covered a range of issues including the impact of lockdown on access to services and general wellbeing; families’ experiences of end of life and palliative care of a loved one; and mothers’ experiences of mental health services during pregnancy and the first year of a child’s life. The Annual Report highlights the positive difference the information made in helping providers to improve services, including the Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust that based the development of its new model for Maternal Mental Health hubs on information provided by Healthwatch Shropshire.

Work has also been carried out on social prescribing for 16-25 year olds, hospital discharge during the pandemic, and a digital audit of care homes websites.

“I am very proud of Healthwatch Shropshire during 2020-21. In common with every other organisation, we had to make radical changes to the way we work, but our small team rose to the challenge enthusiastically,” said Vanessa Barrett, Chair of Healthwatch Shropshire.

Lynn Cawley, Chief Officer of Healthwatch Shropshire, added that people who shared their experiences of the health care service have been vital.

The full report can be found online.