In this section you will find our Annual Reports, full details of the surveys we have undertaken and information on our outreach activities.

Pharmacy First Information Booklet

The interest in our Pharmacy Report encouraged us to design an information booklet, which informs residents about the Pharmacy First service and how to access Community Pharmacy services.

Our report found that there is a lack of awareness about the full range of services patients can access, via their Pharmacy, and by producing this handy leaflet, we can help to ensure patients are kept fully informed.

Healthwatch England Annual Report

We know our NHS and social care services are facing significant challenges. And we know what power the patient voice has to create much-needed change to services.

And because of the work local Healthwatch do in your communities, we’ve been able to shine a light on those problems that concern the public most.

Pharmacy Services Report

Following the announcement of a ‘Pharmacy First’ model in November 2023, as the local consumer champion, Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire (HWCB) were interested in how local residents currently use Pharmacy services, and whether they would utilise their local Pharmacy more if they were aware of additional services that a Pharmacist offers, and/or if they would prefer to speak to a Pharmacist rather than visiting their GP surgery.

Festival for Older People 2023

Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire (HWCB) was proud to host the 10th ‘Festival for Older People’ on 6th October 2023 at The Rufus Centre, Flitwick.

The Festival is an opportunity for older people to find out more about the health and social care support services available to them within their local community.

Just Ask 2023

Services cannot make improvements without hearing the views of local residents. That’s why over the last year we have made listening to feedback from all areas of the community a priority through our ‘Just Ask’ events.

‘Just Ask’ is one of HWCB’s annual, primary public engagement events; the aim of the event is to reach out to people in the community and to give everyone the opportunity to have their say about the services they use.

The Denny Review

Following three years of extensive engagement with local people, Reverend Lloyd Denny has published the Denny Review into health inequalities today.

The review looked to understand which residents experienced the greatest health inequalities and what steps could be taken to achieve greater health equality for local people across Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

Annual Report 2022-23

As we all know, GP Services and NHS Dental provision are key issues in all areas and, with the recent introduction of the Integrated Care Board, we are able to work more closely with our health colleagues in addressing current concerns and working towards improvements.

As we move into our 10th year since conception, we look forward with positivity to continuing the good work and outcomes that have been achieved by Healthwatch over the years.

Value of Community Nursing: Engagement with Patients, Carers and Families across the East of England

To understand public perceptions on the value of community nursing, Community Nurse Fellows in the East of England commissioned local Healthwatch to engage with patients, families and Carers about their experiences of accessing community nursing, the value of the service, and how it could be improved.

BLMK Denny Review Case Study CDS – Mrs C

The lady interviewed (Mrs. C), lives in Luton, part of the Bedfordshire, Luton & Milton Keynes Integrated Care System (BLMK ICS), currently ranked 70th most deprived out of 317 local authorities in the UK. She is a caregiver to her 16 year old son who is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Global Developmental Delay, Sensory Processing Disorder and Speech and Language Delay. These conditions affect her son’s social communication, cognitive and motor development, sensory processing and speech and language abilities.

BLMK Denny Review Case Study – Mr and Mrs W

A couple interviewed (Mr & Mrs W) live in a deprived area of Central Bedfordshire, and have an adult son (aged 20) with complex mental health issues, OCD, Autism and severe learning disabilities. Mrs W and her husband are the main Carers for their son. Mr W works full time but Mrs W previously gave up her job to care full time for her son as his mental health declined and his behaviour worsened.

BLMK Denny Review Case Study – Ms G

The lady interviewed (Ms. G), lives in a deprived area of Central Bedfordshire, has a daughter aged one, who was born prematurely with  complex needs, and a son aged five. Her son suffers with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioural changes. He is also mute and suffers with learning disabilities.

BLMK Denny Review Case Study – Mrs N

The lady interviewed (Mrs. N), lives in a deprived area of Central Bedfordshire, has previously suffered a stroke, currently has diabetes, is deaf in both ears and lives alone. She has significant mobility issues, and is registered disabled, which affects her ability to undertake everyday activities.

Community Equipment Services

Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire was commissioned to undertake an independent review to determine local residents experience of receiving equipment from the Community Equipment Service, or comments from those who felt that they may need to access the service in the future.

The feedback given will help Central Bedfordshire Council to address any concerns about provision of equipment and delivery, and to help inform a new service to be delivered across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

The Denny Review

Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System (BLMK ICS) commissioned The Denny Review; ‘A rapid evidence review of the health inequalities experienced by the local communities of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes’.

The project aimed to highlight the health inequalities for those that may be disproportionately impacted due to a physical and/or learning disability, living in deprived areas of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

Healthwatch England Annual Report 2021-22

Healthwatch England’s  annual report to Parliament has now been published.

The report gives an excellent overview of the outcomes achieved by Healthwatch, and the contribution all local HW have made to help improve health and care services.

Festival for Older People 2022

Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire (HWCB) was proud to host the 9th ‘Festival for Older People’ (the Festival) on 7th October 2022 at The Rufus Centre in Flitwick.

The Festival is an opportunity for older people to find out more about the health and social care support services available to them within their local community.

Just Ask 2022

2022 marked the 10th anniversary of Just Ask, which is one of HWCB’s annual, primary public engagement events; the aim of the event is to reach out to people in the community and to give everyone the opportunity to have their say about the services they use.

Different partner organisations joined the event providing a wealth of information and advice about health and social care services delivered locally.

Volunteer Week – Healthwatch Hunt

A Healthwatch Hunt event was held by Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire (HWCB) to say a huge thank you to all of our volunteers for their hard work, dedication and support to HWCB during the past year.

Tying the date for the event with celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee seemed fitting as the Queen often referenced the community and team spirit of the country.

Annual Report 2021-2022

By listening to you and hearing your experiences and the challenges you have faced over the past year has given us and the decision makers, insight, understanding and learning.

Helping people to navigate the huge changes to local services has greatly informed our work this year, and our hard working team of staff and volunteers have focused on finding new ways to listen to and support our communities to get the health and care they need.

Carer Experience of Hospital Discharge

A Project with the Commitment to Carers Programme team at NHS England and Improvement (NHSE/I)

Carers often feel overlooked, unsupported and exhausted by their caring role, and clearly feel that the process of recognising a Carer, and provision of the right support at the right time, is of paramount importance.

Seen and Heard Report

A Strong Voice for Local People

Local Healthwatch, from two areas of BLMK (Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough), worked together to organise and promote a focus group for members of the deaf community to attend, and give feedback, on their experience of accessing health and care services.

Festival for Older People 2021 Report

Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire (HWCB) was proud to host the 9th ‘Festival for Older People’ 2021. The Festival is held annually in October; in 2020 the event was held virtually, due to the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, however this year it was held face to face in a venue that is central to all residents of Central Bedfordshire.

Just Ask 2021 Report

During 2021, four ‘Just Ask’ events were held virtually via Zoom between April and July and two face to face events were held in August and September in Dunstable and Biggleswade respectively. After a very hard 18 months it was great to get back to some face to face engagement with the community.

Vaccine hesitancy among young people in Central Bedfordshire

In September 2021, Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire created a short snapshot survey to find out more about vaccine hesitancy amongst young people in our area. The results of the survey, including the key recommendations that emerged, can be read in our report.

Hospital to Home – Discharge to Assess Review

As a result of recent government guidance and national policy, Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire were approached by Central Bedfordshire Council to undertake a programme of engagement and develop a survey to determine, from local residents, their experience of hospital discharge in the last few months to help inform their ongoing work in this area and to achieve the best results for everyone. People and their families are central to decisions about their care and D2A can only work if information is shared properly.

Annual Report 2020-21

It has been a very challenging but rewarding year for Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire as staff, Directors and volunteers have worked tirelessly during the pandemic to ensure that the voice of local people continues to be heard, listened to and acted upon.

Despite limitations of engagement, we have continued to reach out to our community and offered help with signposting, advice and information.

People share their experiences of Living Through Lockdown 3.0

The Living through Lockdown 3.0 report was developed as a follow-up to our first report, ‘Listening in Action During Lockdown’ (published in June 2020), to include additional feedback from the public, and a further expansion of stories and experiences shared with HWCB reflecting life during Lockdown 3.0, including the support, advice and guidance provided.

People share their views on Dentistry Services in Central Bedfordshire 2021

We developed a dental survey for local residents to complete which was published on our website between January and February 2021. Our report gives a full analysis of the survey results, together with examples of how HWCB has supported local residents.

The report shows our findings and recommendations.

Advocacy Services 2021

To support future commissioning of advocacy services, Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) asked Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire (HWCB), as an independent organisation, to develop an online survey to gain valuable feedback from service users.

A full analysis of the survey results is given here, with additional comments from service users.

GP access during COVID-19

Healthwatch England’s new report looks at how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people access their GP and how this affected people’s experience of care.

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we use our GP practice. Instead of phoning for an appointment or walking-in to a surgery, access to care has rapidly moved to online bookings, and video and phone consultations.

Healthwatch England Hospital Discharge report

In this report, Healthwatch England share 590 people’s stories of leaving hospital during COVID-19.

The report focuses on the discharge process between March and August 2020 and shines a light on people’s experiences of getting home from hospital.

Virtual Festival for Older People 2020

This year the Festival for Older People (FOP) was delivered via virtual recordings and by a ‘Live’ Zoom event on 2nd October.

To provide an event that encompassed information, advice, entertainment and activities, HWCB took the decision to expand the Festival to a full week.

Listening in action during Lockdown

Support services changed how they delivered services, and priorities were reassessed to help form an NHS, and social care service, that could respond to the COVID-19 emergency.

Read how HWCB supported the local community.

Healthwatch England COVID-19 Report

From the stories shared with Healthwatch, it’s clear that people are immensely grateful for the sacrifices NHS and social care staff have made and their dedication to keeping us safe during the pandemic. However there are issues we can learn from.

Annual Report 2019-20

Our Annual Report showcases our achievements, reports on our finances and demonstrates how we have been working to improve health and social care services in Central Bedfordshire.

GP Website Survey Report

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Chair of Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire suggested that a survey be undertaken to investigate the extent of current information and advice provided on local GP surgery websites. This report shares our findings and recommendations.

D/Deaf Project Report

Access to Healthcare is a right afforded to all citizens in the United Kingdom through the NHS. Whilst no one would question this right, it is sometimes the case that people have difficulty accessing healthcare in a way that meets their individual needs. HWCB spoke with people within the D/deaf community and those who are hard of hearing to gather their views and experiences of accessing health services.

Festival for Older People 2019 Report

This event took place at The Rufus Centre, Flitwick on 4 October 2019. The report summarises the planning process, activities that took place on the day and some of the experiences of the visitors.

Just Ask 2019 Report Summary

The Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire engagement programme, Just Ask, visited seven locations during 2019. The report summarises the issues and concerns highlighted at the events, and how HWCB has helped to find resolutions.

Observational Visit to Luton Sexual Health Clinic

Young Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire conducted an observational visit to Luton Sexual Health Clinic on 28th June 2019.

The report includes examples of good quality services offered and recommendations, from a young person’s perspective, on areas that could be changed or improved.

Period Poverty project

Young Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire have been involved with the Red Box Project over the past 10 months.

The Red Box Project is a community-based, not-for-profit initiative which aims to support young people through their periods by providing Red Boxes filled with free period products to local schools.

The report covers the research Young Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire carried out and their findings.

First Aid Project Report

First Aid Project Report, Young Healthwatch

Members of Young Healthwatch were keen to develop a project to ensure that young people receive basic first aid training to give them confidence in their ability to help prevent further injury or preserving life.

NHS Long Term Plan

NHS Long Term Plan BMLK Place Report

This report shows what people would do to change services in their specific area: Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

NHS Long Term Plan

NHS Long Term Plan BMLK Scale Report

59% of people we spoke to would like to see changes made to their mental health support. Read more about what people would do to change services in Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

Just Ask 2018

Annual Report 2018/19

Our Annual Report showcases our achievements, reports on our finances and demonstrates how we have been working to improve health and social care services in Central Bedfordshire.

Just Ask 2018

Mental Health Report

Good mental health is key to everyone’s wellbeing. The fact that 1 in 4 adults experience at least one mental health problem in any given year suggests that it is a prevalent and enduring issue.

Just Ask 2018

Women and Theatre Production – Phyllis

A thought-provoking play telling the story of one woman and her family attempting to navigate the complex system of older people’s care.

Read the feedback from the audience.

Just Ask 2018

Just Ask 2018 Report

The Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire engagement programme, Just Ask, visited nine locations during 2018. The report summarises the issues and concerns highlighted at the events, and how HWCB has helped to find resolutions.

Festival for Older People 2018

Festival for Older People 2018 Report

This event took place at The Rufus Centre, Flitwick on 5 October 2018. The report summarises the planning process, activities that took place on the day and some of the experiences of the visitors.

Herts Urgent Care

Integrated Urgent Care Contact Centre – Observation / Site Visit Report

We carried out an observation / site visit to Integrated Urgent Care Contact Centre, Gilbert Hitchcock House, Bedford on 11th November 2018.

The report shows our observations and recommendations.

MSK Survey

MSK Survey

We conducted a survey to gather feedback from patients who have had experience of Circle MSK services in Bedfordshire.

Our new report details our findings and provides suggestions on how the service could be improved.

Annual Report 2017/18

Annual Report 2017/18

Our Annual Report showcases our achievements, reports on our finances and demonstrates how we have been working to improve health and social care services in Central Bedfordshire.

Sandy Youth Mental Wellbeing

Sandy Youth Mental Health Project Report

National statistics suggest that 10% of young people in Central Bedfordshire will experience a mental health issue. We have worked with Youth Action and Groundworks East to produce a report on local young people’s mental health & wellbeing

Just Ask 2017

‘Just Ask’ Project 2017 Report

We have published our review of last year’s ‘JUST ASK’ project.

Read about where we visited, who we met and how the project has helped support local people.

Festival for Older People 2017

Festival for Older People 2017 Report

This event took place at The Rufus Centre, Flitwick on 6October 2017. The report summarises the planning process, activities that took place on the day and some of the experiences of the visitors.

Local Healthwatch Survey

BLMK STP Snapshot Survey

Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire, Healthwatch Luton, Healthwatch Milton Keynes and Healthwatch Bedford Borough asked local residents if they were aware of the Bedfordshire, Luton & Milton Keynes (BLMK) Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP).

Fall Prevention Survey

Falls Prevention Survey

Survey to establish older people’s understanding of preventing falls and how they could ‘future proof’ their homes.

Non-emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS) Survey

Non-emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS) Survey
Results of a survey to gather patients feedback about the current transport service.

Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire Annual Report 2016/17

Annual Report 2016/17

Our Annual Report showcases our achievements, reports on our finances and demonstrates how we have been working to improve health and social care services in Central Bedfordshire.

Festival for Older People 2016 Report

Festival for Older People 2016 Report

Report on the Festival for Older People which took place in October 2016.

JUST ASK events 2016

JUST ASK events 2016 Report

Report on the JUST ASK events that took place on the RAVE bus throughout 2016.

Domiciliary Care Survey 2016

Domiciliary Care Survey 2016

Results of July 2016 survey on domiciliary care in Central Bedfordshire