National Director of Healthwatch England visits West Cumberland Hospital and gets chatty with Healthwatch Cumbria.

Healthwatch England National Director Imelda Redmond CBE, has been hosted by Healthwatch Cumbria on a two day visit to the county. On Tuesday Imelda visited West Cumberland Hospital and on Wednesday she was out and about in Penrith and met and spoke with local residents, listening to their experiences of local health and social care.

Whilst in Penrith Imelda met Linda Woods and her mother Jean Atkinson, from Catterlen, who related their positive experiences of using the Cumberland Infirmary and local social care services. She also heard some less positive stories when, for example communication between hospital and GPs and patients have not worked well.

Imelda travelled to West Cumbria and Penrith on the Healthwatch Cumbria Chatty Van sometimes driving it herself and learning first hand what it is like to live and work in such a large rural county.

Imelda Redmond, National Director of Healthwatch England, said:

“Healthwatch Cumbria does a vital job independently listening to people in their local areas about their health and care experiences. Their strong relationships with the people who make decisions about these services helps to ensure that people’s experiences in places like Penrith and across the country can inform service delivery and improvement locally and also nationally through Healthwatch England.”

Sue Stevenson, Healthwatch Cumbria Chief Operating Officer, said:

‘We are very fortunate in having the National Director for Healthwatch visit Cumbria. She was able to join our experienced and enthusiastic team at work and see first hand the challenges and opportunities for health and social care in the county.’