Norman Lamb's speech to Healthwatch Norfolk AGM. 22 September 2014
Minister of State for Care and Support, Norman Lamb MP, spoke to the first Annual General Meeting of Healthwatch Norfolk.
Norman Lamb spoke about some of the local challenges in implementing national policy direction. As well as talking about the improtance of greater intergration between health and social care, and the move to parity of esteem for mental health services* he highlighted the important role that Healthwatch has to play in the coming years:
"The voice of the patient and the public in our health and care system is totally central. If the public voice and the patient voice isn't hear loud and clear then you get sub-standard care and sub-standard experiences from the system. So, the work that Healthwatch does and will do in the future is central to the vision of a better health and care system. It's also true to say that there have been too many changes over the years in the voice representing the patient and the public, and for the last decade or so I think we’ve had three or four changes starting with the community health councils. It's now incredibly important that we have some continuity and stability so that this organisation can build its standing and self-confidence and so that the public get to know of it as an organisation that it can go to if it has concerns."
You can download the full transcript of Norman Lamb's speech below.
*NB The Minister was speaking immediately before recent policy announcements regarding the introduction of statutory limits on referral-to-treatment times for mental health services.
Healthwatch Norfolk launches dementia report at AGM
At its first AGM on 22 September 2014, Healthwatch Norfolk launched its Experiences of Dementia Services in Norfolk. There are at least 13,000 people in Norfolk diagnosed with dementia and dementia is a priority area for Healthwatch Norfolk and Norfolk’s Health and Wellbeing Board. Healthwatch worked in detail with 63 people, both carers and people with dementia, to understand more about service provision in Norfolk – where it was good and where it needs to be improved. The report has already contributed to Norfolk's Dementia Health Needs Assessment.
The main themes identified in the report are:
Delayed diagnosis of dementia can result in a more rapid decline in health and wellbeing
Carers want more information at the point of diagnosis
Access to services varied greatly and not all dementia services are available on an equitable basis across Norfolk
Family (unpaid) carers provide the bulk of daily care and face practical problems and financial hardship
There is uncertainty on what services are there in an emergency for people with dementia
Carers have felt the impact of funding cuts on support services
The day-to-day experience of caring for someone with dementia can be difficult and carers would benefit from more advice on how to cope
The report makes a series of recommendations for commissioners of support services and for further Healthwatch Norfolk’s work on behalf of people with dementia and their carers. These include:
Commissioners to give careful consideration to the level and equity of support across Norfolk for people with dementia and their carers
Healthwatch Norfolk to undertake a programme of enter and view visits to residential homes for people with dementia
Healthwatch Norfolk to influence improved information and signposting for people with dementia and their carers
Healthwatch Norfolk Chief Executive, Alex Stewart, said:
“We need to get services for people with dementia and their carers right, especially in a county like Norfolk with an ageing population. We know that this is a real challenge but it is one we need to rise to. Healthwatch is committed to working with commissioners, providers and other groups to help make sure that services are as good as they can be. This report is part of our ongoing commitment to work on behalf of people with dementia.”