At Healthwatch Hertfordshire, our role has never been more important and your feedback is an essential part of restoring and, in some cases, transforming the health sector. Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic we continued to focus on health inequalities, encouraging people to share their experiences to help shape and influence health and social care services.
On the day Steve Palmer, Chair of Healthwatch Hertfordshire welcomed 30 attendees including Board members, volunteers and representatives from the Voluntary and Community Sector to the meeting.
Highlights from the year
Once the Annual Accounts were approved and signed off, Geoff Brown, Chief Executive took time to reflect on the highlights of the past year which are published in our Annual Report 2020/21 and include:
- An extensive and diverse research programme ranging from better understanding attitudes towards the vaccination programme, to the use of online technology resulting in digital exclusion and improving access to NHS care for Hertfordshire veterans.
- 400 hours spent by the team helping people to navigate and access local health and care services.
- Applying our role of improving services and holding to account we suggested 43 improvements which were adopted by services to make health and care better in our community.
Commenting on the achievements, Steve Palmer said:
“One thing is certain, I have never been more proud of the resilience of our Board, our hard-working staff, volunteers and the health and care sectors across Hertfordshire. Their ability to adapt, work together and meet challenges day after day during the past year has been a credit to them all.”
Welcoming our Guest Speaker
Guest Speaker was Professor Jim McManus, Hertfordshire’s Director of Public Health who gave an insightful talk Exit and Recovery: learning from the pandemic and long term challenges.
Jim introduced his session with a brief history of pandemics, noting that understanding COVID-19 as a syndemic* (rather than a pandemic) invites a more appropriate and nuanced response to protecting the health of our communities.
[*A syndemic or synergistic epidemic is the aggregation of two or more concurrent or sequential epidemics or disease clusters in a population with biological interactions, which exacerbate the prognosis and burden of disease. Syndemics often develop under health disparity.]
Further Reading on the subject:
Guidance: Living Safely with Covid: Moving towards a Strategy for Sustainable Exist from the Pandemic
Professor Jim McManus - Vice-President, Association of Directors of Public Health
Read the article here
The Health Foundation: Unequal Pandemic, Fairer recovery
Read more here
Long Covid Support
Find out more here
The Health Foundation: Build back fairer – The Covid-19 Marmot Review
Read the findings here