Hundreds of people help Healthwatch Norfolk, AGM told

The work of Healthwatch Norfolk over the past 12 months was highlighted at its 2023 AGM

It gave the opportunity for people to find out more about the work of the organisation, which seeks the views of people across the county on health and social care and passes that on to leaders to help shape future care and support.

If you missed it, you can watch a recording of the AGM here by clicking here.

You can watch a subtitled version by clicking here.

Our annual report which documents our work over the past year is available by clicking here 

AGM recap

During the meeting, people heard how hundreds of people have shared their experiences over the past 12 months.

As well as the public leaving feedback at events, by phone and online, the organisation also talked to people from a range of communities including:

  • Those with no fixed abode about the Norwich Walk-In Centre
  • Non-English speakers about access to a translator
  • People with lower leg wounds (and their carer) about the help they would like.
  • People awaiting orthopaedic care in South Norfolk and Broadland about the Waiting Well service.
  • Norfolk residents aged 40 to 74 about the NHS Health system.
  • Members of the county’s LGBT+ community at Pride events about their health and social care experiences.

In total, 2656 people left reviews and feedback about the care they received, and 471 people approached Healthwatch Norfolk for advice and information.

The organisation also published 56 reports, with the most popular analysing feedback from patients after visiting GP surgeries across Norfolk.

Other work across the twelve months included:

  • Publishing a report on how the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn could improve communication with its patients after talking to communities across the area.
  • Mapped out ways to help patients use digital systems to improve their access to health care.
  • Highlighted the need for improved translation services in hospitals and GP practices.
  • Suggested improvements to Waiting Well, a pilot scheme supporting people in South Norfolk and Broadland awaiting orthopaedic treatment.
  • Explained the consultation around the future of the Norwich Walk-In Centre and ensured the survey was more accessible.
  • Carried out a detailed survey of the free NHS Health Check service and suggested ways of encouraging more people to take part.

Concerns around dentistry still account for over half the enquiries received by Healthwatch Norfolk. People were struggling to get NHS non-emergency care if they were not already registered with a practice, and there was huge pressure around the number of appointments needed and a lack of staff. A dossier setting out the issues in the county based on the feedback we received was submitted to the Government’s Health and Social Care Committee as part of his examination of dental care nationwide.

Over the past 12 months, Healthwatch Norfolk has also been running the My Views Matter project talking to people with Learning Disabilities (LD) and autism staying in residential care. This was prompted by the deaths of some residents in long-term care and saw the team visiting sites across the county talking to families, their loved ones, carers, and staff. Individual reports on some visits have already been published and a report drawing together key themes is being published in summer 2023.

Sharing advice and information is also a key theme of the organisation’s work. It has created and/or shared resources around several areas including how pharmacies work, the free NHS Health Check for 40-74 year olds in Norfolk, the Shared Care Record system to help ensure patients do not have to keep telling different people their experiences over and over again, and safety information and campaigns from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

Another key piece of work was around strengthening the links and support for GP practices from their local communities. We found out what would help Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) in their work and put together some recommendations based on the feedback of over 1000 people, as well as designing a toolkit to help the groups operate.


Alex Stewart, Healthwatch Norfolk chief executive, said: “Norfolk County Council is very clear that our role is to hold the health and social care system to account on behalf of the people in the county.

“We can only do that with the help of people’s stories and experiences which give us vital data on everything form dentistry and mental health care to appointment delays and technology problems.”

Healthwatch Norfolk Live

Plans are already under way for the 2023 Healthwatch Norfolk Live event at The Forum in Norwich on October 5.

More details will be announced in the coming weeks, but it will include the chance to quiz leaders from across the health and social care system in Norfolk, and it will also see awards presented to Healthwatch Heroes – people who have given great support to Healthwatch Norfolk during its first decade.