Picture of staff and volunteers from the Heathwatch Somerset steering group celebrating five years with cake and balloon

Share your experiences of local health and care services and make it better for everyone – that’s the message from the county’s independent health and care watchdog Healthwatch Somerset as it celebrates its fifth birthday on Sunday (April 1).

Healthwatch Somerset, along with 147 other healthcare organisations in England, was set up in 2013 as a result of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Its role is to listen to the views of the public on local health and care services. They then use this feedback to help influence decision-making at a local level, shaping services for the better.

Community Interest Company Evolving Communities took over the contract to run the local Healthwatch service in October last year. Since then, Healthwatch Somerset has set up a new staff team recruiting a manager, volunteer officer, engagement officer and signposting officer.

Over the last few months, staff and volunteers have been out and about in Somerset visiting community hubs to encourage more local people to volunteer with the Bridgwater-based organisation and help shape health and care in the county.

Emily Taylor, Healthwatch Somerset Manager, said: “As we celebrate our fifth birthday, our real focus is now on talking to more people than ever before through a strong network of volunteers.

“We plan to run a more diverse range of engagement activities to reach more people. No matter how big or small the issue, we want local people to share their stories of local health and care services with us, so that we can share these ideas with those with the power to make change happen.”

Five ways to share your views on health and care in Somerset:

  1. Talk to a Healthwatch Somerset volunteer or staff member on an information stand in the community. See the events calendar for an up to date venue list: www.healthwatchsomerset.co.uk/events
  2. Pick up the phone and talk to a friendly member of staff to share your experience: 01278 264405
  3. Email your story to info@healthwatchsomerset.co.uk
  4. Leave feedback online: www.healthwatchsomerset.co.uk
  5. Join our growing team of volunteers – and help give people a powerful voice to make a real and lasting change, visit: www.healthwatchsomerset.co.uk/volunteering

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