The event was opened by Healthwatch Chair, Stewart Francis, who welcomed everyone and set the scene for the day.
He talked about the big changes in health and care services with the introduction of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System (ICS) on 1 July. And the pressure that services are under as they recover from Covid-19.
“What confronts us is a health system that’s probably under the greatest pressure experienced in our lifetime.
That means patients are inevitably experiencing the result of this. Therefore, there’s never been a more important time for Healthwatch, the patients' champion and for that voice to be heard.”
We were joined by a range of guest speakers, including Healthwatch volunteers Jackie Cook and Eunice Alhassan who shared their lived experiences of using health services.
National Director of Healthwatch England, Louise Ansari, talked about health inequalities. And the important role of Healthwatch in helping health and care decision makers tackle these issues.
Guests also had the opportunity to take part in two workshops each, examining topics like helping people get online and your voice in mental health care.
New Integrated Care System
John O’Brien, Chair of NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough which is part of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough ICS also spoke at our event.
He outlined the changes to how health and care and other services are working. And explained how the ICS was an "opportunity to get the right people working together in the right way and to fashion some new and ....important conversations - not least with patients and service users about how we move forward".
And that Healthwatch's role within the ICS is important in providing a robust and constructive challenge to the system, by "representing the voices of patients and service users".
What did you think?
If you came to our Championing Access event, please tell us what you thought about it. This will help us understand what worked, what could have been better and help us make next year's event even better.
We are now writing up our findings from this event and will publish this when it's ready.