Claire regularly works for Made Open as a project coordinator, managing several of their online community platform clients. Made Open's lead Service Designer, Kathryn Woolf, commissioned Claire to join her at the 2019 Royal Cornwall Show. Alongside a small team from Made Open's clients, Healthwatch Cornwall, Claire and Kathryn invited the members of the public to share their thoughts about health & wellbeing in Cornwall.
The initial public engagement activity involved casting a vote for the area of health and care, as outlined by the NHS' priorities published earlier in the year. Residents from Cornwall shared their thoughts with the team about which area they were most passionate about seeing improvements in.
Anyone who stayed to discuss a while longer were also invited to add their ideas and suggestions to our 'ideas board'. As the amount of ideas grew, other people added 'emoticon' stickers to people's ideas, representing how they felt about each suggestion. As well as to collect public opinion about these health & care issues facing the county, this public engagement also collected thoughts about a new community platform, Ask Cornwall.
Ask Cornwall is a social network supported by Healthwatch Cornwall. People living and working in Cornwall can use the platform to have conversations about the health and well-being issues that matter to them. Organisations and partners can ask for ideas and make a difference to decision-making. The platform provides an accessible way for healthcare providers to learn about what is important to people in communities and form ideas that can make positive changes to health and wellbeing.
Asking people 'what matters to you?' (instead of 'what is the matter with you?') is a key challenge for the health and social care sector as a whole - one that’s difficult to implement consistently.
At all commissioning levels there is a need to understand what matters to people using services, how this varies by locality and audience, and how the system can deliver place-based care more effectively. People and partners collaborating to discover better ways of working underpins the whole notion of integrated health and care.
To address these needs, Healthwatch Cornwall has teamed up with Made Open to launch the 'Ask Cornwall and Isles of Scilly' online platform. This is a social platform where citizens and people working within the health and care system can speak freely to each other, share their views, make connections and engage in discussion topics that matter to them.
Sometimes communities can fix things themselves. Sometimes the system can enable them to fix it. Ask Cornwall lets us share information, ideas and responsibility.
Amanda Stratford // CEO, Healthwatch Cornwall