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Giving local people a voice on health and social care services in County Durham

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Project started by Healthwatch volunteer Tony is shortlisted for a national award


We’re excited to announce that two of our recent projects have been shortlisted for a national Healthwatch England award. Our work with vulnerable women around access to health screening and our project to improve local care home websites have both beaten off stiff competition from other local Healthwatch teams (there are 152 in total) to make the last five in their respective categories.

It was the experience of volunteer Tony Bentley that inspired our project to improve care home websites, which is in the running for the “It Starts With You” award. This award recognises an individual or group who have worked passionately to improve health and social care services for their community – and that’s certainly what Tony has been doing.

Tony’s passion for improving the websites began when he was searching for a care home for his mum. He was surprised by the poor standard of information available - on some websites he struggled to find even basic information to help him make a decision. His frustrations turned into a full-blown research project for our team.

Now, thanks to Tony and other research volunteers, all care homes with a contract with Durham County Council are providing key information on the council's “Locate” website, enabling families to make more informed decisions. Tony is also helping to develop a best-practice website for providers, so they are able improve their own websites based on his findings.

Our work with vulnerable women has been nominated in the “Helping people have their say” category. We're really pleased our efforts to reach out into the community to gather views have been recognised and thank all those who took part in both projects.

The winners will be announced in October and we’ll let you know how we get on!


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Healthwatch County Durham Board Meeting will take place on 13 Aug 2019