Disability advocates to join Derbyshire health watchdog

editorial image

A Derbyshire health and social care watchdog is teaming up with a learning disability charity to give young people a say on the quality of services.

Healthwatch Derbyshire has announced a joint initiative with national charity MacIntyre, inviting people with learning disabilities to join assessment visits to care homes across the county.

The project will extend MacIntyre’s Reps on Board scheme, which supports service users to become community advocates.

MacIntyre training coordinator Alison Wright said: “The Reps on Board project has operated for nine years now to ensure that people with a learning disability are included in looking at the way services are run in Derbyshire.

“Involving our reps with the Healthwatch Enter and View programme is a perfect opportunity for them to increase the impact they have.”

The first cohort of 16 reps has already been recruited, and a training programme will be rolled out over the coming months to enable more representatives to work alongside Healthwatch Derbyshire volunteers.

Together, they will collect the views of service users and highlight both good practice and any issues for service improvement.

Healthwatch visits are not official quality inspections, but instead focus on a lay person’s perspective of the care residents receive to ensure they are treated with dignity.

Trainee Stephen Wibberley, of Long Eaton, said: “It’s important for everyone to have their say on how services are provided. We will help other people with a learning disability to have a voice.”

Chief executive Karen Ritchie said: “We are delighted to be working with MacIntyre who obviously have a greater insight into the specific needs and challenges faced by patients and residents.”

For more information, call 01773 880786 or visit www.healthwatchderbyshire.co.uk.