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Healthwatch and NHS event set to improve support for people leaving hospital

NHS commissioners in Lambeth and Southwark joined with Healthwatch colleagues for a joint event to discuss how to improve the quality of support for people when they leave hospital.

The event, Going Home, was attended by staff from both Lambeth and Southwark Healthwatch, local hospitals, voluntary organisations and NHS Lambeth and Southwark Clinical Commissioning Groups.

A video telling the story of one patient's experience when they left St Thomas' Hospital was launched at the event and delegates discussed how they could make improvements to the NHS and care system to ensure people received the support they need from relevant health and care organisations at this difficult time.

Professor Clifford Hughes, former Chief Executive Officer of the Clinical Excellence Commission, a statutory health corporation promoting and supporting improvement inquality and safety in health across New South Wales, Australia, spoke at the event. Professor Hughes told the room that the patient and carer need a louder voice when people leave hospital.

A workshop developed a number of suggestions which will be detailed in a report to be considered later this year. Organisers were challenged to hold another event next year to showcase the changes which have been made as a result.

Catherine Pearson, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Lambeth, said: "The moving Going Home film which was based on experience gathered by ourselves and Healthwatch Southwark, showed the challenges patients and carers face when they leave the hospital door to recuperate at home.

​"We fully support Professor Clifford Hughes' push to "patient based care", where the patient and carer has a voice and is listened to throughout the whole health and care process. We want to come back with a positive patient story that talks about being listened to and informed."

Dr Adrian Mclachlan, Chair of NHS Lambeth CCG, said: "It was great to get so many people in the room who were determined to make a difference to the going home process for local people. We heard about a lot of good work that is already going on in Lambeth and Southwark but there was broad agreement that there is definitely room for improvement, including better communication to help people access the support that is out there."

Aarti Gandesha, Manager of Healthwatch Southwark, said: "The Going Home eventwas a great opportunity to bring together health and social care services, commissioners, voluntary sector and local residents to discuss how we can better care for people when they leave hospital. At Healthwatch we hear too often about people falling through the gaps between services, and our Going Home film provided some evidence and context to the local issues. We heard about some great work going on in our services, to ensure patients and families are well supported during this time. The next step is to share the solutions that were discussed so we can spread learning and best practice."

Dr Jonty Heaversedge, GP and Chair of NHS Southwark CCG, said: "We know that health and social care organisations across the country face a challenge with the whole process of discharging patients from hospital. There is a lot of good work going on locally to make this experience easier, safer and more supportive for patients. This event was a great opportunity to share learning between the local NHS, councils and voluntary organisations and think about how we can build on our successes in the future."

More than 140 people attended the event at The Oval.

You can view the Going Home film here: