A CAMPAIGN is being launched to encourage people across the county to help make health and care better for their communities.

The Healthwatch Shropshire (HWS) #ItStartsWithYou campaign returns for a second year to encourage residents to have their say, and to highlight the difference that people are already making to health and social care services by sharing their experiences.

Chief officer Jane Randall-Smith said: "However big or small the issue, Healthwatch Shropshire wants to hear about it from you. If it’s important to one person, it’s very likely that it affects other people too. "By sharing your story you can help doctors, dentists, hospitals and care homes understand what’s working well and what could be better. It might just feel like your story, but if it matters to you, it matters to us, and it really can make a difference.”

Healthwatch Shropshire is the independent consumer champion for health and social care in Shropshire. It gathers the views and experiences of patients, service users, carers, and the general public about services including hospitals, GPs, mental health services, community health services, pharmacists, opticians, residential care and children’s services.

It also has statutory powers that it can use to influence service provision by encouraging improvements.

Vanessa Barrett, the newly elected Chair of HWS, said: "It continues to be shown that patient testimony can sometimes provide better insight into services than the hard statistical information collected by service providers.

"Service users can be unsure how they can best use their experience to improve services for others, but if they contact Healthwatch Shropshire they will be able to discuss their experience confidentially and we can help them while setting out other options that may be available to them.”

Contact HWS on 01743 237 884, write to: 'freepost HEALTHWATCH SHROPSHIRE’, email enquiries@healthwatchshropshire.co.uk or visit www.healthwatchshropshire.co.uk.