Tower hamlets Healthwatch, a local health and social care service, have won an award for their highly commendable work in improving GP practices for residents at this year’s national Healthwatch awards.
Healthwatch are local health and social care services which can be found in every area in England. They aim to listen to residents in order to improve GP services.
Chris Banks, Chief Executive, Tower Hamlets GP Care Group (representing the 36 Practices in Tower Hamlets) said “Healthwatch is well organised in its approach to the task of information gathering and produces highly informative reports. Their reports are balanced and give praise where it is due while ensuring that the areas of poor patient experience are clearly set out with practical recommendations on how to improve them. We feel they are a true critical friend who are supporting us to provide better services to our citizens.”
Dianne Barham Chief Executive of Healthwatch Tower Hamlets said “Changes to GP Practices in Tower Hamlets do not happen now unless the patient voice has been heard. This means that scarce resources are being used to support improvements that are proven to benefit patients. “
Tower Hamlets Healthwatch work was part of a record breaking 170 entries from over 100 local Healthwatch teams submitted this year. These were then whittled down to 35 shortlisted entries across seven categories.
The winners were chosen by members the Healthwatch England national committee, with the awards presented by high profile speakers including Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, and Chair of the Parliamentary Health and Social Care Committee, Sarah Wollaston.
Research done by Tower hamlets Healthwatch found that health services have improved since 2016.
Maternity services in Tower Hamlets has been steadily improving between 2016 and 2018 according to patient feedback about services provided by the Royal London Hospital’s maternity unit.
Tower Hamlets Healthwatch concluded that the main issue in improving GP services based on the opinions of residents is improving communications by telephone in GP surgeries and the Royal London Hospital.
They have set to promote online/email booking as an alternative to telephone, to ease pressure on phone lines.