Healthwatch Somerset is calling on local people to make sure their voice is heard and reflected in proposals being drawn up by Somerset NHS health and care services, for changes to community-based services and non-emergency care.

Healthwatch Somerset is the county’s independent health and care champion.  It makes sure that, wherever possible, local people’s views are at the heart of decisions made about health and care services in the county.

It has been involved in the development of the public engagement programme, Fit for my future, that was launched today by Somerset health and care services, to seek local people’s views about how to improve services in the county.

Chair of Healthwatch Somerset, Judith Goodchild, welcomed the county’s commitment to public engagement, while emphasising the value of listening and learning from people’s experiences.  She said:  “Changes to health and care services must reflect the views and experiences of the wide range of people who use and provide those services.  This is essential to truly understand people’s needs and to develop plans that will bring about positive change.  Healthwatch Somerset wants as many people as possible to speak up now and share their views about how to improve community-based services and non-urgent care.  We will be raising awareness of this important opportunity to help shape the future of these services in our county.”

People can share their views until 12 April 2020, either at events organised by the Fit for my future team in community hospitals and libraries, or via a survey completed online or at GPs surgeries.  To find out more about the health and care services that are being reviewed and about the different ways to get involved contact Somerset’s Fit for my future team online: fitformyfuture.org.uk, call 01935 384119 or email somccg.fitformyfuture@nhs.net.  Alternatively, contact the Healthwatch Somerset team on 01278 264405.

Following the public engagement programme, there will be a formal consultation about the different ways that Somerset could deliver community health and care services in the future.