The more things change, the more they stay the same

Stuart Linnell, Chair of Healthwatch Coventry, reflects on political and NHS change and the work of Healthwatch in his latest blog.
Picture of Stuart Linnell sitting at a meeting table and smiling

It was a 19th century French writer who said “the more things change, the more they stay the same”, and that certainly applies to our health and social care needs.

We see change regarding who does what in our Government happening at a bewildering speed sometimes, and so it is that we have yet another change to the post of Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. Putting politics to one side, it was frustrating for those who work in the sector to see Sajid Javid depart, just as he was getting to grips with the issues that need addressing and beginning to understand the complexities of the NHS.

When I became Chair of Healthwatch Coventry, it took me some time to learn what all the initials and acronyms stand for, to work out who does what and how it all functions, so I can fully understand that it takes a Secretary of State a little while to grasp the much bigger picture.

Three years on, I am still piecing a lot of it together. The NHS is undergoing a major change to its structure so there is still more to learn.

What does not change however is what you and I, as patients, require and expect from our health service. First and foremost we need to be able to access local health care, either from our GP, our dentist or our pharmacy. We need to know and properly understand what care we need, as well as how and where it will be delivered. We need to be able to register our opinions of the standard and quality of the service being provided for us.

It’s because those things “stay the same” that Healthwatch exists. Thanks to the work of our volunteers from within the local community we regularly hear the views of local people and present those findings to those charged with running the various parts of the NHS. When we are aware of shortcomings, such as the difficulty many find in simply securing an appointment to see the doctor, we take it up with those who can fix the problem.

In amongst all the change and politicians who come and go, as that saying goes: 'the more things change, the more they stay the same'. So it seems to me that it has never been more important to have a champion for patients working on their behalf. That is what Healthwatch is there to do.
— Stuart Linnell MBE

You will find details of what Healthwatch Coventry has done in the last twelve months in our annual report. I do hope you’ll find it interesting to read about our work. Some times it takes time to bring about a change but this does not make us any less determined.

Read our Annual Report

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