Healthwatch Northamptonshire volunteers shortlisted for national award for their visits giving feedback to Kettering General Hospital

Healthwatch Northamptonshire volunteers Sheila White and Wendy Patel have been shortlisted for a prestigious national award for undertaking 43 visits to 50 wards and departments at Kettering General Hospital (KGH) between April 2019 and March 2020.
Kettering General Hospital entrance

Using the NHS ‘15 Steps Challenge’ tool, which focuses on seeing care through a patient or carer’s eyes, and exploring their first impressions, Wendy and Sheila highlighted recommendations for improvement and areas of good practice that could be shared with other wards and departments.

Their hard work has helped the hospital make changes to improve the patient and visitor experience at KGH. They share their findings with the hospital after each visit, resulting in an ‘action plan’ from each ward outlining how they will address the issues raised.

Sheila and Wendy’s work was shortlisted under the ‘Celebrating our volunteer team’ category in the Healthwatch Awards 2020, which are run by Healthwatch England.

This annual event – which this year is taking place virtually due to the pandemic - celebrates the difference Healthwatch’s 4,400 staff and volunteers have made over the past year. Healthwatch Northamptonshire is one of only 30 local Healthwatch out of a total of 152 across England to be in the running for one of the awards.

The overall winner from each category will be chosen by a panel of judges and announced during Healthwatch Week, which runs from Monday 2 November 2020.

“Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust would like to thank Healthwatch and in particular Wendy and Sheila for their work with the 15 Step Challenge. Their observations and feedback are always well received and helps us make improvements which are monitored via action plans. 

15 Step Challenge feedback compliments other feedback sources and Healthwatch have the opportunity share this with our Patient Experience and Involvement Steering Group, which they are members of, as well as being monitored by the Quality and Compliance Manager. 

The 15 Step Challenge tests us in a robust and structured way that has been developed over time and highlights and test things with a fresh eyes approach.”

Helen Mills, Quality and Compliance Manager at KGH, speaking about the value of Sheila and Wendy’s work

“I never stop being inspired by the dedication of local Healthwatch staff to making care better for their communities.

Whether reaching out those whose views are not being heard, helping people to find the support they need or making sure NHS and social care services act on the improvements that the public want to see, the award entries highlight the difference local Healthwatch make.

I would like to congratulate everyone who has been shortlisted. They have done their communities proud.”

Sir Robert Francis QC, Chair of Healthwatch England

Since I became Director of Nursing and Quality and indeed even before that, Wendy and Sheila provided me with invaluable insights into the experiences of patients and staff at KGH. They seemed to have possessed a continuous drive and a passion for quality improvement and both have been very active members of a number of our working groups. From their insights and contributions, some from 15 Steps, but also through other means I have remained grounded and open to hearing about and acting on the right things. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to them both.
— Leanne Hackshall, Director of Nursing and Quality at KGH

More information about the awards shortlist can be found on the Healthwatch England website

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