Our Work

Healthwatch Somerset’s Work Plan

Each year local Healthwatch organisations have to agree their annual work plan priorities for the forthcoming year as well as its programme of work.

Our approach to priority setting is one which recognises that Healthwatch sits inside the health and care system.


Priorities for Healthwatch are identified in a number of ways:

Local people are encouraged to identify areas of concern and bring these to the attention of Healthwatch by telephone, email or letter, or attendance at local events.  Where particular issues are not within Healthwatch remit, people are always advised on the right agency to contact for help.  Local people can also complete an annual survey promoted across the county through existing contacts and networks to find out what they think is important.

Partnership working is key to Healthwatch philosophy, so local service user organisations suggest areas of work, and timescales for completion.  This avoids duplication of effort.

The Healthwatch Local Board, volunteers, and staff will be involved with consultation and planning workshops so that analysis of data collected throughout the year as part of ongoing engagement activity is achieved.

Commissioners in both Health and Social Care also assist Healthwatch in identifying any specific topic related priorities.  We also take consideration of existing local needs assessments (for example Joint Strategic Assessment).  An ongoing dialogue with stakeholders through forums including the Health and Wellbeing Board, Health and Care Scrutiny Committees, Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body and voluntary sector groups and forums etc. is key to identifying ‘system’ priorities.

Priorities for 2019/20

This year Healthwatch Somerset’s priorities for 2019/20 have been agreed using these processes.  They are:

Availability of Community Support

What we want to do

To gather data and intelligence about the experiences and desires of people accessing support in their community with their health and wellbeing is at risk.


Over the next couple of years Somerset County Council and Somerset Commissioning Group (CCG) are developing a neighbourhood approach that will bring health, care and community partners together to deliver services to local people in a more joined up way.  It will:

  • Promote prevention and early intervention
  • Provide high quality, person centred advice, care and support
  • Promote care and support which is delivered closer to home reducing the need for bed-based care
  • Use data and intelligence to learn from and make improvements

Healthwatch Somerset wants to understand where people currently access information, advice and support to manage their health and wellbeing and how this could be improved.  The findings will be fed back to the Council and CCG so that they can use it to develop an effective ‘front door’ to services so that people can access the right information and support in the right place at the right time.

Access to Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services

What we want to do

To better understand the challenges young people face when trying to access support with their mental health and emotional wellbeing, and how they feel this could be improved.


Young People tell us that they have tried to access support for a mental health or emotional wellbeing issue through their GP surgery and the support has not met their expected outcome.

Access to Primary Care

What we want to do

Understand people’s experience of accessing Primary Care and identify best practice across the County.


During 2018/19 we received a lot of feedback about access to Primary Care appointments. We want to better understand the challenges faced by people in Somerset and make the commissioners of services aware. This work will also support the ongoing development of Primary Care networks.

Healthwatch Somerset will also monitor work being done across the health and social care landscape in Somerset.  It will do this through its statutory seat on Somerset’s Health and Wellbeing Board and through the partnership of Fit for my Future – Somerset’s STP.

How we work

Read about what methods we use to collect and process data for our work and the reasoning behind it.

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