Understanding things better

Keep up to date with our current research and investigations.

After we have gathered evidence and information we talk directly to service providers and the commissioners who “buy” health and social care services to find out what can be done to improve things.  We also represent the public’s views on the Kirklees Health and Wellbeing Board, the local forum that encourages health and social care services to work together better. See here for more information.

Do you have feedback about services that does not link to something we are looking into at the moment?

We still want to hear from you; we’re here to gather views so that services are shaped by local needs and experiences. Every voice counts, we want to include people from all communities and ages and are always happy to hear from you.

When your life is already tough


We would like to hear from you if you have difficulties in your life such as being homeless (including living in temporary accommodation, re-offending, problematic substance misuse and mental ill health).

We would like to know what your experiences of health and care services are like.

Have you had any difficulties registering with a GP or dentist?

How do staff in health and care services treat you?

Have you had to use A&E recently?  Have you been admitted to hospital?  What was your experience like?

If you have been discharged from a hospital or mental health setting, did you get enough support when you left?

Healthwatch Kirklees would like to hear from you if you have any experiences, good or bad, which you would like to share.

Please phone 01924 450379 or e-mail info@healthwatchkirklees.co.uk

You can complete our survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/N2NXDHG

A member of staff will be happy to meet with you to discuss your experiences if you would prefer to talk to someone face-to-face.

Snapshot of patient and carer difficulties


Healthwatch Kirklees asked people using the Continence Advisory Service, carers and the staff providing the service to give feedback about their experiences of that service. We had received feedback that suggested that people were struggling with the way that the service worked, and thought it was important to share that feedback with providers.

Have you, or do you know someone who has been, impacted by the continence service provided in Kirklees?

Have you struggled to access any types of incontinence products?

What has your experience been and what needs to change?

Please fill in the survey below and let us know.

This issue impacts the quality of life, dignity and independence of people – young and old – who suffer from incontinence.

It also affects the lives of those who care for them.

Healthwatch Kirklees needs your experiences of using this service, your responses can help us influence the key decision makers to improve the service in Kirklees

How do you complain in the new NHS?


Key issues:

Healthwatch England recently reported evidence which shows that the complaints systems in place currently are failing¹:

  • 48% of people do not have the confidence that formal complaints are actually dealt with (rises to 60% for the 55+ age group)
  • Over 54% of people who had a problem with health or social care in the last three years did nothing to report it
  • 49% of consumers surveyed have no trust in the system and are crying out for an independent and easily recognisable advocate to deal with complaints

These findings are echoed by people in Kirklees, where recent changes have left people unsure of where to complain to. Local people have also told us that some staff respond in a very defensive way when they show they are unhappy about the quality of service they have received.  Often, what starts out as quite a minor problem, which could probably be resolved at a local level, then escalates to a formal complaint because initial concerns have not been responded to appropriately.

Others have expressed concern that lessons are not being learnt from complaints as the service doesn’t appear to have improved.  In these instances, people don’t feel they have been listened to and their comments haven’t been respected and valued.

Healthwatch England are keen to hear about your experiences of making complaints to health and social care providers and commissioners. If you would like to do so, you can complete this survey

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3P8ZGXM and share you views.

Clare Costello is leading on this piece of work for Healthwatch Kirklees. If you would like to tell us your story, please get in touch.

Supporting equal access to hospital services


Key issues

Carers of people with learning disabilities are reporting that generic health services provided in hospitals are not delivering treatment and medical advice in a way that appropriately meets the specialist needs of the people they care for.

Predominant concerns raised are:

  • Hospital staff are not listening to the patient or carer when they talk about their learning disability and are not interested in hearing about this
  • Hospital staff lack understanding of learning disabilities and are unskilled in aiding patients with their individual needs
  • Hospital staff are delivering treatment without explaining what will happen to the patient and are then surprised if the patient reacts negatively

The concerns listed here are compounded by the variability between hospitals in the level of understanding of, and support available for, patients with learning disabilities, and the awareness of staff of the specialist support available.

Nationally, there has been a great deal of acknowledgement and investigation of the disparity between the service received by people who have learning disabilities and those who do not. There has been an acceptance that some people with learning disabilities have, in the past, received a sub-standard service due to a lack of reasonable adjustment of services to meet patient needs. As such, health and social care services now have a statutory obligation to make reasonable adjustments to the services they provide to address the needs of patients with learning disabilities.

In Kirklees, the Learning Disability Partnership Group are striving to ensure that reasonable adjustments are being made to improve access to medical support and advice.  In spite of this, people with learning disabilities continue to have a poorer experience of interacting with hospital services.

If you would like to share your views about this, or have a story you’d like to tell us, get in touch with Helen Wright who is leading on this piece of work

Understanding the Health needs of the Kirklees LGBT community better


Kirklees Council LGBT Employee Network and local charity Healthwatch Kirklees are working in partnership to understand the specific health experiences of the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender) community in Kirklees.

We think that for many parts of health and care services in Kirklees, our sexuality doesn’t impact the service we receive. It does not affect our ability to see our GP, to get picked up by an ambulance, to visit a dentist or recover from the flu. There are other areas however, where evidence suggests that sexuality does impact on our health and care needs.

Our starting point for the survey is some research that has been done by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) on health issues that they feel specifically affect the LGBT community. Our survey repeats the points that the LGF makes in its study and asks you for a local Kirklees perspective. You can read more about this here: http://www.lgf.org.uk/policy-research/JSNA/ We’ve also added in some conclusions that Kirklees Council came to in 2006 as part of its CLIK (Current Living in Kirklees) survey, to see if the points raised then are still relevant.

There is space for you to add your stories on any aspect of health and social care services not just what the LGF/CLIK have suggested. Once it is done we’ll feed your opinions back to the people who commission and manage services.

In this partnership the Kirklees Council LGBT Employee Network will take the lead in getting the message out to as many members of the community as is possible. Healthwatch Kirklees will record in an open and transparent way what people are saying. Together, we’ll put people’s opinions and stories to the Council’s Public Health Team around Easter 2014.

You can fill in the survey here onlinehttps://www.surveymonkey.com/s/88G23TH

You can download a copy  from our website and send it back to us at our Freepost address

Healthwatch Kirklees
Units 11-12 Empire House
Wakefield Road
WF12 8DJ

Or you can ring us on 01924 450379 to ask for a copy to be sent out to you.

All information you send in will be anonymous. The survey will close on 31st March 2014.

Making costly calls to health services


Key issues

In the period to September 2013 Healthwatch Kirklees recorded 27 service user comments about the use of 0844 telephone numbers by GPs and hospitals. This issue has also received widespread coverage in the local media.

This project will investigate issues relating to the use of premium rate phone lines including;

  • Why Health and Social Care Services in Kirklees use 0844 numbers
  • What issues this raises for customers, looking at for example the costs of calling these numbers
  • What best practice looks like

How we can encourage all providers in Kirklees to move towards a local call rate model that allows equal access for all customers.

Clare Costello is working with representatives from the Primary Care sector to understand this issue more. If you have experience of this, or a story to tell, get in touch with Clare.

This month, we have found ourselves challenging ATOS, a private company that delivers medical assessments under contract to the Department of Work and Pensions.

ATOS assesses people in Kirklees to see if they are eligible to receive Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which has replaced some other disability benefits. Even people who were given a lifetime award of disability payments because of the serious nature of their disability have to be reassessed. However, here in Kirklees, there is no assessment centre that people can go to; instead, they have to go to Leeds, Wakefield, Calderdale, or in some cases, Manchester, Stockport and Rochdale.

ATOS have confirmed that they have no plans to open an assessment centre in Kirklees and we’re challenging that, by working with the local MP and member of the Health Select Committee Paula Sherriff and local Carers Groups.

We have also written a letter to the Secretary of Work and Pensions, Ian Duncan Smith to bring to his attention the unfair treatment experienced by PIP claimants in Kirklees.

The following people and organisations are supporting us by sending sent out letters to the Secretary of State:

  1. MP Paula Sherriff
  2. MP Jason McCartney
  3. MP Jo Cox
  4. MP Barry Sheerman
  5. Councillor Masood Ahmed
  6. Councillor Cahal Burke
  7. Councillor Gemma Wilson
  8. Councillor Cathy Scott
  9. Councillor Andrew Copper
  10. Councillor Musarrat Khan
  11. Councillor Marielle O’Neill
  12. Councillor Darren O’ Donovan
  13. Councillor Nosheen Dad
  14. Azizur Rehman- Indian Muslim Welfare Society
  15. Nick Whittingham- Chief Executive at Kirklees Citizens Advice & Law Centre
  16. Carol Haigh- Chief Excecutive Mencap
  17. Shahed Mayat- Milen Care Batley
  18. Fiaz Rashid- Director of Pakistan & Kashmir Welfare Association
  19. John Mc’Kernaghan- The Brunswick Centre
  20. Kath Woodhouse- Chair of North Kirklees Autism Support Group and Friends
  21. Communities Who Can (Kirklees Federation of Tenants and Residents Associations)
  22. Routeways- Ravensthorpe Community Centre
  23. Touchstone Advocacy & Peer Brokerage Service
  24. Paul Bridges – Huddersfield Mission
  25. Fusion Housing
  26. ME Society Calderdale and Kirklees

We would encourage other organisations and individuals to get involved and share their experiences by using our template letter.

HW Kirklees letter to the DWP

Healthwatch Kirklees Template Letter to the DWP

We’re interested in more stories from people who have been forced to travel long distances for their PIP Assessment. If anyone has these stories, please click here to take part in our survey or call us on 01924 450379.

South Asian Communities and their access to end of life care services

Healthwatch Kirklees undertook a survey to understand why there was a low uptake of the hospice service (Kirkwood Hospice) amongst South Asian communities in Kirklees, and to identify appropriate ways to improve access to specialist palliative and end of life care services.


Click here to read our report.

Locala provide the health visiting service in Kirklees.  They told us that they sometimes receive complaints from people about the service they have received and that this can be because people’s expectations of what they will receive is different to what is actually being delivered by health visitors.

Healthwatch Kirklees decided to look into this by going out and speaking to pregnant women and parents of children under the age of 3.  Questions were asked around when and how people got information about the health visiting service, whether people felt they needed additional support from the service and more general questions such as awareness of the out of hours advice line.

Healthwatch Kirklees produced this infographic to present the main findings:

People’s expectations of the health visiting service

Locala are looking at the data we gathered and will be developing an action plan to address any areas which need improving.


Do you have an NHS dentist?

Are you struggling to find an NHS dentist?

Have you had to use the NHS 111 service or the A&E for dental pain?

Do you have an NHS dentist but are unsure of the dental charges?

If so, then we would like to hear about your experiences of NHS dentistry in Kirklees. Click here to fill in our short survey.