This quarter we recorded a total of 952 (down from 1,112 stories last quarter). The reflects the impact of changes to events and activities in March 2020 as the public began to social distance and we had to cancel events to comply with the government directives.
As experienced home-workers the team have been able to continue to work solidly throughout March and adapt our approach to engaging with people.
How we've helped
(Case study from our Helpdesk this month)
Our team were able to support a family who were struggling to get support for their young child who has had ongoing medical issues and been treated by a hospital since she was 9 months old. Her condition has worsened dramatically. The family were waiting to get treatment but were concerned at the lack of contact from the hospital.
The family had ended up taking their daughter to another children’s hospital. They were told that the hospital could help but that they would need to pay for the treatment if they decided to use this hospital. The family wanted to know their rights and how they could be referred to the hospital under the NHS. The helpdesk explained how their daughter could get referred and signposted the family to NHS England/Improvement, as well as to the Tree of Hope to support the parents.
Following government advice and guidance Healthwatch West Sussex team members are all now working from home. All face-to-face and engagement activities from mid-March 2020 were suspended and will be rescheduled when appropriate. This has led to the need to initiate a new and flexible workplan for our staff and volunteers for the foreseeable future.
What we have done to date and will continue to do:
- Built on our existing good home working practices and are using the time to maximise on technology to deliver effective communications. Our staff have access to MS Teams, Skype and Zoom so we can have virtual meetings both internal and with external stakeholders
- Established weekly updates with Board, staff and volunteers
- Developed appropriate ways of maintaining effective and productive relationships with all key partners
- Established a mechanism for identifying COVID 19 emerging trends/themes so we can alert partners to gaps in provision/need
- Ensure we can provide up to date information regarding local and national services to residents
- Ensure we can provide ongoing support for voluntary and community sector organisations.
Read more in our Board Performance Report (link below)