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Surrey health concerns most likely to be aired online

Posted: 22nd November 2012

The majority of people quizzed by a Surrey health watchdog would use the internet to lodge concerns about health and social care, according to a new report.

The Surrey LINk has released the results of a consultation with the public in June on how they prefer to express their views on health services.

It comes in the wake of government reform which will see the Surrey LINk become Healthwatch Surrey from April.

The idea of the reform is to provide the general public with a greater voice in influencing and informing how health and social care services are provided.

Over the summer, members of Surrey LINk took to community centres, health centres, high streets and Sure Start children centres to hear how people would like Healthwatch Surrey to help them share their views and concerns in the future. They were then invited to complete a selection of surveys, in which a total of 450 people took part.

Respondents were asked how they would like to share their views about health and social services, what stopped them from giving their views, and how they would like to be directed through the care system when they have concerns.

According to the results, out of 181 responses to a detailed survey, which allowed people to write out their comments, 95 people, or 53%, preferred online surveys and 84 people, or 46.4%, would use emails as a way of putting forward their views.

A shorter survey completed by 234 people highlighted three preferred routes of sharing views, with 95 people, or 40.7%, choosing a paper survey, 92, or 39.4% opting for email, and 89, or 38.1%, preferring online surveys.

Richard Davy, operations manager of The Surrey LINk Host, said, “We are determined that Healthwatch Surrey truly represents the views of the wider community in Surrey. “By sharing information and raising awareness in local communities we have reached out to people who haven’t been involved in giving their views about health and social care services in the past.

"We hope that our efforts are helping to make sure that local residents across Surrey are becoming more aware of Healthwatch Surrey and how it will be able to help them in the future.”

LINks (Local Involvement Networks) have powers to monitor and investigate issues relating to publicly funded health and social care. They invite members of the public to highlight what is going right and wrong with the services.

Healthwatch England will become a statutory committee of the Care Quality Commission. Healthwatch organisations will retain the current powers and responsibilities of LINKs, as well as undertaking an additional aim to promote the involvement of local people in decisions about their health and social care.


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