Day 12: Spreading the word to Healthwatch #107days

Day 12 has been adopted by Beth Gregson who is focusing on bringing #JusticeforLB to the attention of Healthwatch. Here’s why:

As chair of a Healthwatch I am constantly trying to work out what we focus on, there is so much work to do it can feel overwhelming. Do we focus solely on the concerns raised with us by local residents, or do we align our work with local strategies?

The problem with either of those ideas is that people with learning disabilities are often the least heard and are rarely asked, we are very unlikely to hear about concerns unless we actively go out and ask. It’s a bit chicken and egg. Which is why I feel so strongly that healthwatch, as a national network, has a role to play in asking what is happening to our young dudes and what would a national picture look like?

Beth believes that members of Healthwatch are in a unique position, as our role is to champion consumer voice, to gather views and articulate them. Therefore the question of what does good look like, needs addressing.

I am passionate about working towards real co-production of services, and reading the story of LB it hit me hard, both as a mum and a Chair. I asked myself what I could do. Today I am attending a national chairs meeting. While there is no set agenda, I plan to have a conversation, to suggest we respond to the #JusticeforLB manifesto and also to Lord Hardie’s report on Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and the Mental Capacity Act.

As a national network, I think we have a responsibility to respond to a report like that. To find out about peoples lives, gather the lived expereinces so we can add to the picture and use it both locally and nationally to influence policy.

Beth hopes to raise the profile of what is happening in terms of support for people with learning disabilities with her fellow chairs from across the country. This awareness raising, and bringing the issue to the front of people’s minds, is key to the #107days campaign. Last word goes to Beth, and could be equally asked of many of us as we go about our daily business:

What are we here for if it is not to speak up for those who are rarely listened to? It is not simply about giving people a voice, it’s about supporting others to listen to what’s being said.