Healthwatch programme to improve quality of care

Eileen Jacques, chief officer at Healthwatch North Somerset.

Eileen Jacques, chief officer at Healthwatch North Somerset. - Credit: Archant

A patient watchdog has begun carrying out site visits at care homes across North Somerset to improve the quality of patient care.

Healthwatch North Somerset has launched its Enter and View programme to gather intelligence about health and social care providers by talking directly with patients and their carers.

The visits will enable the independent watchdog to compile reports about the quality and scope of care services provided and will include recommendations for service improvements, if appropriate.

Three visits have been carried out so far, including one at Manor Park, which specialises in dementia care in Portishead, and two care homes in Weston.

Eileen Jacques, chief officer at Healthwatch North Somerset, said: “Enter and View constitutes a valuable addition to our toolbox for gathering vital intelligence about the quality and scope of health and adult social services in the region.

“As an independent watchdog it’s our job to pro-actively make contact with patients and obtain their views and experiences of these services.

“There is no better place to do this than at the point of service delivery.

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“Gaining accurate intelligence from a variety of sources helps us to pinpoint our attention where it is most needed and make recommendations which can bring about effective and positive change in the delivery of services for those most in need.

“Enter and View visits are not intended to be a substitute for formal inspections and do not form part of the regulations governing health and social care service providers.

“The visits will help us pro-actively build good relationships with care service providers, and ensure patients’ voices are heard.”

The visits will be carried out by a team of trained volunteers and staff from Healthwatch North Somerset and the reports will be available about six to eight weeks afterwards.

To ensure that patients’ and carers’ views are accurately and objectively recorded, the Enter and View team members have each completed an externally provided training course covering issues such as equality and confidentiality.

Team members must also undergo a DBS (criminal records) check and demonstrate they have passed a local authority online training course about safeguarding.

Privately owned and public sector institutions will be covered by the E-programme, which has begun with a focus on old age care service providers.