Student Evan urges people to have their say about changes to the NHS

Healthcare in Doncaster will only work if people get to have their say – urges student Evan Howle.

Evan Howle

After completing his four-week placement from Sheffield Hallam University, 33-year-old Evan, from Doncaster, is encouraging others to speak out as part of ‘What Would You do? led, by independent health and social care champion Healthwatch Doncaster.

Launched recently, What would you do? aims to encourage people in Doncaster to share their views about how extra money from the Government should be spent on local NHS services.

The Government is investing £20 billion a year in the NHS as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. Local organisations are now being asked to explore how services should change locally to make the NHS work better for people.

Evan said: “By talking and listening to people who have been ill and used these services – you get fantastic knowledge and feedback about health services, which we will all have to use at some stage in our lives.

“Since I’ve been at Healthwatch, I have observed just how important it is that people have the opportunity to share their views. We need independent organisations like Healthwatch Doncaster, to enable people to have the freedom to feedback without the fear of retribution. I would encourage others to take part and make sure their voice is heard.”

Evan, who is studying BA Honours Learning Disability Nursing and Social Work, has had the opportunity to listen to people’s views through meetings and engagement opportunities, including at Doncaster College.

“I have seen first-hand how they value each individual experience, or opinion, and use this to influence the work that they do. I have been supported to create engagement opportunities that will hopefully benefit hard to reach communities within Doncaster; influenced by those opportunities to hear people’s views. I’m looking forward to seeing all the important work that is done around the NHS Long Term Plan, from a team that is passionate about ensuring healthcare is better for the individual, and not the organisation,” said Evan.

What would you do? aims to get feedback from people in an online survey. Questions will focus on local services on areas such as mental health support, support people to live healthier lives and how services could be better.

Andrew Goodall, Chief Operating Officer at Healthwatch Doncaster, added: “The NHS only works when the voices of the people who use it are heard. This is a once in a generation chance for local people to help decide where this extra money from Government should be spent in our NHS services in the Borough.

“We want to hear from as many people as possible about what works, what doesn’t and how they think local health services should be improved. No matter how big or small the issue, we want to hear about it. Sharing your experience with us is quick and easy – and could make a big difference.”

Staff and volunteers from Healthwatch Doncaster will be undertaking outreach activities where people can share their views. People can also share their views in an online survey, or visit Healthwatch Doncaster’s website.