Councillor praises our role as a 'critical friend'

The lead member for adult social care praised our role in standing up for local people, at our annual general meeting on 16 July 2019.

Our role in advocating for the people of Reading has been praised by a local councillor, at our latest annual general meeting.

Redlands ward councillor Tony Jones said he had not known much about the role of Healthwatch when he first became lead member for adult social care in 2018, but he now considered it to be “a critical friend to Reading Borough Council and our most important partner in adult social care”.

Cllr Jones spoke from the audience of 30 people attending the AGM, who had just heard about the case of Richard, a vulnerable man living in Reading after many years of being kept on a hospital ward. Advocates from Reading Voice, the service run by Healthwatch Reading to give people a voice through statutory health or care processes, had fought for Richard to get decent care and living conditions after finding him in an unsafe state.

Carl Borges, our advocacy services manager, outlined Richard’s case and played a short video testimonial from Richard’s mother and sister. “I found you to be compassionate and empathising towards Richard….and I feel now that through your input, things will change for the better for Richard,” his mother said.

Another member of the public described it as a “very moving presentation”.

At the AGM we marked the first birthday of Reading Voice, which delivers four different types of advocacy from a single team, for eligible people in our borough.

Another short film was also played at the AGM (see photo, above) showing how local women from our diverse community had benefited from being trained by Healthwatch Reading staff to sign up to online GP services, through our Log on to Health project.

Our highlights for 2018-19

  • Nearly 1,000 people shared their experiences with us about health or social care
  • More than 200 people contacted us for specific advice and information queries
  • We carried out 19 Enter and View visits to witness services in action
  • We recommended 20 changes or improvements that services say they will act on
  • Our contact with people via social media increased by 8%