Healthcare in Somerset will only work if people get to have their say – urges former ambulanceman Bob Champion.

82-year-old Bob, from Shepton Mallet, is encouraging others to speak out as part of ‘What Would You do?’, led by independent health and social care champion Healthwatch Somerset.

The ‘What would you do?’ campaign aims to encourage people in Somerset to share their views about how extra money from the Government should be spent on local NHS services.

The Government is investing £20 billion a year in the NHS as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. Local organisations are now being asked to explore how services should change locally to make the NHS work better for people.

Widower Bob said: “By talking and listening to people who have been ill – you get fantastic knowledge and feedback about health services, which we will all have to use at some stage in our lives.

“Patients are the experts, each and every one of them has a story to share – whether that’s good or bad.  I would encourage others to take part and make sure their voice is heard.”

Bob has had plenty of first-hand experience with health and care services in Somerset, having worked as an ambulanceman for over 30 years.  He was also the main carer for his wife Shirley before she passed away in 2010.  His 52-year-old daughter Michelle is also in long-term care, after having a stroke several years ago.

People can share their views via an online survey, and by speaking directly to Healthwatch.  Questions will focus on local services in the following areas Cancer; Mental health; Dementia; Heart and lung conditions and Learning disabilities and autism.

Emily Taylor, Manager at Healthwatch Somerset, added: “The NHS only works when the voices of the people who use it are heard.  This is a once in a generation chance for local people to help decide where this extra money from Government should be spent in our NHS services in Somerset.

“We want to hear from as many people as possible about what works, what doesn’t and how they think local health services should be improved.  No matter how big or small the issue, we want to hear about it.  Sharing your experience with us is quick and easy – and could make a big difference.”

Staff and volunteers from Healthwatch Somerset will be travelling around Somerset between 15-22 March during their 2019 Campervan and Comments Tour where people can share their views.

Survey closed 30 April 2019