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Cuts and complaints top debate at Healthwatch Hackney AGM


Funding cuts, NHS changes and complaints topped discussions at this year’s Healthwatch Hackney AGM.

More than 52 people attended the meeting in July to hear about our achievements in 2016-17 and our plans for the year ahead.

Local residents asked questions about cuts to local Healthwatch, NHS restructuring and how Healthwatch Hackney plans to ensure young people have a voice.

Chair Paul Fleming highlighted the lack of public consultation on local NHS sustainability and transformation plans and described the challenges of Healthwatch Hackney of acting as a  'critical friend' to health and care partners.

Treasurer Anthonia Onigbode told the meeting Healthwatch Hackney was spared budget cuts this year but was facing a 6% budget cut in 2018-19.

Director Jon Williams talked about plans for Young Healthwatch Hackney to make sure the voices of young people are heard in a borough where 25% of the population is aged under-20.

Board member Malcolm Alexander introduced the Healthwatch Hackney NHS complaints charter developed by local patients and residents and agreed in principle by the Hackney health and wellbeing board.

He said: ‘This charter is not just about answering your complaint. It’s about changing the system so providers take complaints seriously and use them to provide better services.’

City and Hackney clinical commissioning group (CCG) clinical lead for mental health Dr Rhiannon England ended the meeting with a question and answer session on local mental health services.

Dr England highlighted innovations that had led to good outcomes including local Service User Networks and support for the black men’s project at Core Arts.

In response to an audience question about time limited therapies, Dr England said: ‘Ongoing care is a big challenge in mental health as we don’t have the money. Money is tighter and tighter.

‘Hopefully in this new world of integration we can start looking at some of this together,’ she added.

Read the full AGM report including questions and answers here.


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