Having your say about care and health services
If you and/or the person you care for use local care services then you should feel able to make comments, give feedback and raise concerns about the service if you want to.
Organisations who provide care services rely on feedback from patients/clients so they can make improvements to services.
Raising concerns, comments and complaints
If you are unhappy with the service either yourself or the person you look after is receiveing, the first port of call would be to raise your concern with the manager of the service. If possible always try and resolve things amicably if you can.
It may be that you aren't unhappy with a service but have suggestions on how it can be improved further. Most services value this kind of feedback and want to improve so don't be afraid to speak up.
Sometimes a situation requires more than just giving feedback or making comments. If you feel you need to make a formal complaint, please see our advice pages on making complaints.
If you feel you or the person you care for are not being treated in accordance with the law or eligibility criteria for a service, ask the decision maker to explain things to you. It's reasonable to ask them to explain what the law and/or eligibility criteria is and how they've applied it.
You can find out more about the Care Act eligibility criteria for carers services and how the Act is applied for adults with care and support needs.
NHS eligibility for medication, operations and services can vary depending on area. Age UK have produced a comprehensive guide to the NHS and how it works which you may find useful. You may also be interested in the King's Fund's video which explains how the NHS is organised in England.
Getting involved and having your say
Patient Participation Groups - most GP surgeries have patient participation groups (PPGs) where patients can have their say on how the surgery is run. Some groups have helped developed new appointment booking systems and made improvements to waiting rooms. Many PPGs also invite guest speakers to their meetings so they are a good way of finding out and sharing information. Speak to your practice manager for further information.
Learning Disability Partnership Boards - there are three boards covering Derbyshire. The boards link and engage with key local people and organisations to help improve local services and raise awareness of the issues faced by people with learning disabilities and their carers. The boards are looking for more learning disability carers to be representatives.
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (DHCFT) - If you or the person you look after use services run by DHCFT (including mental health and learning disability services), you can find out how to get involved and have your say on their website. They offer involvement forums, events, Trust membership and more.
The NHS website has listings of local care and support services - the website has a 'Trip Advisor' style feature you can leave compliments or comments about a service you've used. It's also helpful to see what experiences other people have had with services.
Derbyshire Parent Carer Voice is a charity which is has been set up to help parents have a say in how services for children in Derbyshire are run.
Hospital Patient Advice and Liaison Services - all hospitals have a PALS department. PALS, has been introduced to ensure that the NHS listens to patients, their relatives, carers and friends, and answers their questions and resolves their concerns as quickly as possible. You can find the contact details for the PALS team at your local hospital on the NHS Choices website.
Derbyshire County Council run regular consultations about its services. You can take part in most of the consultations online. They may also have focus groups and meetings that you can take part in.
Derbyshire County Council also regularly carry out a carers survey as part of the Personal Social Services: Survey of Adult Carers in England (SACE) - which local authorities with responsibility for providing adult social care services are required to run every two years. Carers are chosen at random from the Council's database and asked to take part in the survey.
The findings from last year’s Carers Survey have now been published. The survey asked questions about carers quality of life and the impact that services have on this. It also collects information on the general health and wellbeing of carers. The results are very useful in helping to understand more about the carers that live in Derbyshire and the valuable job they do in supporting people who would otherwise struggle to manage.
Healthwatch Derbyshire is an independent organisation that represents Derbyshire residents using health and social care services. They want to hear from you about GPs, hospitals, dentists, any NHS service, as well as social care funded services, such as care homes.
By sharing your story with Healthwatch you can help build a picture of where services are doing well and where they can be improved. You can talk to them anonymously and they will pass your comment on to whoever is responsible for running the service.
They also provide advice, information and signposting about accessing health and social care services. You can use Healthwatch as a single point of contact to help find information about the choices you have or they can put you in touch with the right organisation to help. For further information you can visit the Healthwatch website.
Healthwatch also produce a quarterly newsletter called Speak Out. You can request to receive it by email on the Healthwatch website - there is a link in the footer of the site where you can sign up.
Mental Health Together Engagement Service
Healthwatch Derbyshire provide a mental health service receiver and carer engagement service called Mental Health Together. Commissioned by health and social care orgainsations, the service involves carers who look after someone with mental health problems in the development and delivery of local health and social care services. If you would like to share an experience of a mental health service, you can find out how to have your say on their website.
Mental Health Forums
There are two Mental Health Carer Forums that cover the north and south of the county:
- North Derbyshire Mental Health Carer Forum
- Derby City and South Derbyshire Mental Health Carer Forum
The forums are regularly attended by professionals from the Mental Health Trust, Derbyshire County Council and other local organisations. This gives carers the opportunity to raise issues with the professionals as well as sharing experiences with other carers at the social gatherings that happen after the meetings.
If you or the person you care for has difficulty in making sure your voice is heard, you may wish to find out more about advocacy.
Carers UK have developed a guide to self advocacy called Being Heard which has lots of helpful advice about communicating and getting your point across effectively.
Other helpful websites
- Derbyshire County Council - have your say
- Care Quality Commission - get involved
- NHS Choices - Patient Advice and Liaison Service
- Derbyshire Health and Social Care Community - sharing your records
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