Shropshire Star

Shropshire celebrates 10 years of its health and social care champion

Staff and volunteers have celebrated the 10th anniversary of Shropshire's health and social care champion.

Healthwatch Hero George Rook receiving his award from High Sheriff of Shropshire, Mandy Thorn

Leading figures in health and social care, as well as staff and volunteers – both past and present – recently gathered to mark ten years of Healthwatch Shropshire.

Mandy Thorn, High Sheriff of Shropshire and a former volunteer with the charity, attended the event along with Rachel Robinson, director of Public Health for Shropshire and Simon Whitehouse, chief executive officer of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin NHS.

The event celebrated how Healthwatch Shropshire has for 10 years gathered patient experiences and been a voice for service users, alongside NHS and social care leaders, to improve care.

Lynn Cawley, Healthwatch Shropshire chief officer, said: “We are independent from the NHS and social care providers and give people the opportunity to share their experiences of using health and social care services.

"We make sure that this valuable feedback reaches the powers that be and leads to positive change.

"We are very grateful to the more than 9,500 people who have shared their experiences with us over the last 10 years and are pleased to have provided information and signposting to more than 40,000 people.”

The event saw three 'Healthwatch Hero' awards given out to people who have been pivotal in the work of Healthwatch Shropshire.

They were awarded to Jane Randall-Smith, former Healthwatch Shropshire chief officer, for establishing the trusted brand that and laying the groundwork for its continued success.

George Rook, former board member and active campaigner, was given the award for his passion and determination in highlighting the needs of people with Dementia and their carers in Shropshire.

And Vanessa Barrett, one of the longest standing board members, for her dedicated service and support to Healthwatch Shropshire as both a volunteer and Chair of the Board.

Healthwatch Shropshire is the independent health and social care champion in Shropshire.

It gathers the views and experiences of patients, service users, carers, and the general public about services including hospitals, GPs, mental health services, community health services, pharmacists, opticians and more.

It also has statutory powers that it can use to influence service provision by encouraging improvements.

Healthwatch Shropshire also provides the Independent Health Complaints Advocacy Service (IHCAS) for Shropshire.

The IHCAS service provides information, advice and, if necessary, can support people through the NHS complaints process.

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