Who are we?

Healthwatch Surrey gathers the views of local people on health and social care services in the county. We are an independent service listening to experiences from people in Surrey and providing evidence-based feedback to commissioners and providers to influence, inform and, if necessary, challenge decisions and plans.

You can help to shape, improve, and change local services by sharing your feedback. So, whether you have had a good or bad experience, your views can help to make changes to services in Surrey. Our work covers all areas of health and social care. This includes GPs, hospitals, dentists, care homes, pharmacies, opticians and more. Join the conversation by sharing your experience.

Our Helpdesk also provides information and signposting about local health and social care services and how to access them. We also offer a free, independent advocacy service for people wishing to make a complaint about NHS care.

Latest Reports and Papers

Our latest Insight bulletin highlights the key themes we’ve heard throughout Febraury 2024 as well as providing information about how we share our insight and our future engagement sessions.

Accessing primary care Insight bulletins Mental health

This report highlights our major impacts throughout the third quarter of 2023/24 (October to December 2023). It focusses on our priority areas including information and signposting, access to primary care, mental health, social care, involvement of people and tackling health inequalities.

Accessing primary care Information and advice Involvement of people Mental health Performance reports Social care

This report analyses the feedback we have received from across Surrey – via our Helpdesk or website or from our community engagements – relating to the online journey into general practice. We have been particularly interested in the usability and accessibility of GP practice websites and to what extent this is in line with the guidance produced by NHS England in their Delivery Plan for Recovering Access to Primary Care.

Accessing primary care

Our Latest News...

What’s your experience of your local pharmacy?

15th February 2024

Healthwatch England are shining a spotlight on patients’ experience of pharmacy at the highest level, last month giving evidence to … Read more

LGBT+ history month – Medicine #Under the scope

15th February 2024

This February is LGBT+ History Month, the theme of which – Medicine – #UnderTheScope – is one very close to … Read more

Healthwatch impact award shortlist

31st January 2024

We are pleased to announce that we have been shortlisted for a national award for our work helping to improve … Read more

Personal experiences

NHS 111

Stella* was experiencing the symptoms of an infection causing her pain. Due to this and her suppressed immune system she contacted NHS 111 for help. NHS 111 advised her that her nearest urgent treatment centre had reached capacity so she should need to drive for 25 minutes to the next available centre. Stella did this but was told this centre had also reached capacity. She took the tests and, when seen by a nurse, she was told they couldn’t prescribe antibiotics because of her suppressed immune system. The urgent treatment centre advised her to go to A&E instead. At A&E Stella had a further 3 hour wait and a repeat of all the tests. The receptionist then told Stella that she could have just walked into hospital and did not need to contact 111 first.

Our Helpdesk advisor contacted the Practice Plus Group, who run the NHS 111 service in Surrey, to clarify the information Stella had been provided and the patient experience team requested Stella’s details so they could investigate further. The Practice Plus Group then contacted Stella, apologising for her poor experience and to inform they have started an investigation to understand what improvements can be made. They also provided some advice to Stella regarding support she can get from her GP to continue her care.

*Names have been changed to protect identities

Covid booster

Arthur* was seeking support in booking a Covid-19 vaccination for his wife who was unable to leave her home due to ill health. He had previously booked through his GP practice however, the practice no longer offered this and did not provide an alternative option. We advised Arthur to contact the vaccination helpline 119, however after trying for a couple of days, he was unable to get through. Our Helpdesk Advisor contacted the 119 advice line on behalf of Arthur and confirmed all of the information he required to get a vaccination booked for a home visit and also to confirm the right numbers to press to navigate the automated system and speak directly with an advisor and book the appointment. This information was then passed on to Arthur. “Thanks to your clear precise instructions I’ve at last managed to start the booking procedure. Apparently, the NHS covid vaccination booking service will now get back to us to confirm a time and date.” Following this Arthur was able to book a suitable appointment for his wife.

*Names have been changed to protect identities

Accessible Information Standard

We spoke to Harriet* at an engagement event. She was upset about the support she was receiving for her mental health as she felt she was being “bounced around between this place and that place, it makes me feel irrelevant.” Harriet also explained she had a health condition and needed to visit the hospital. However, she didn’t receive hospital appointment letters in Easy Read even though she had asked for this, and this meant she sometimes missed appointments as she didn’t understand the letters. She also said that when she did get to appointments, she sometimes found it hard to understand what was being said to her.

We gave Harriet some information about other support groups and advocacy services that could help her. We also contacted the hospital. They confirmed that they had now changed Harriet’s records to show that she needed information in Easy Read. They also arranged for a specialist nurse to accompany her on her next appointment and to chat afterwards about any ongoing support requirements.

*Names have been changed to protect identities