The new Manager of Healthwatch Somerset plans to use her previous experience of managing over 2,000 volunteers from across the South West to build a stronger voice for the people in the county.

Former Swim England team leader Emily Taylor previously recruited and supported thousands of volunteers to govern 150 swimming clubs.

Emily, 34, hopes to use her experience to grow and further support Healthwatch Somerset’s volunteer workforce.

The mum-of-one said: “I would like us to increase the number of people we engage with and increase our presence across the county. Initially I hope to do this by building a strong team of employees and volunteers who have a clear vision and sense of purpose.

“My priority is to ensure that more people know about Healthwatch Somerset and what it is we do. I hope we can listen to more views on local health and care than ever before.”

Healthwatch Somerset listens to what people like about local health and care services, and what could be improved. These views are then shared with the decision-making organisations, so that the public voice is heard.

Emily believes a lot of local health and care concerns are focused around funding constraints. She continued: “It is important to look at ways to run services as efficiently as possible, but they also need to be effective at meeting the needs of their local community. I hope that we can work with partners to ensure they get the balance right.

I gave birth to my son a few years ago at Musgrove Park Hospital and my pre and post-natal experiences have been excellent, but I do understand that is not always the case. What is important is that people share their experiences to help shape services going forwards.

The public’s voice can make a difference, but strength comes in numbers. We need to engage with enough people to ensure we understand the issues and the impact. I am then committed to ensuring these reach the organisations that can influence change.”

For more information on Healthwatch Somerset visit www.healthwatchsomerset.co.uk or to leave feedback call the office on 01278 264405, or info@healthwatchsomerset.co.uk.

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