Healthwatch Brighton and Hove - Annual Report 2021

Our Annual Report for the period to March 2021, highlighting the work and achievements over the past year, which includes our response to COVID-19.
Healthwatch Brighton and Hove Annual Report 2021

Highlights from our year

  • We heard from 7,224 people this year - online or via telephone - about their experiences of health and social care, and of the people we engaged with 33% had disabilities, 12% were LGBTQ+ and 13% were from ethnic minority groups.
  • We produced 32 reports reviewing 72 different services, about the improvements people would like to see to health and social care services. From this, we made 187 recommendations, 48% of which led to service improvements - and other recommendations are in progress.
“It is a tribute to our staff and volunteers that despite the pandemic we have reached out to, and supported, more people than ever before. None of this could be done without our amazing and very experienced volunteers and I am extremely proud of them. They are the backbone to our organisation and our staff have brilliantly supported them. The Board has also stepped in too and taken on extra work.​”
— Fran McCabe, Chair

Health and care that works for you

  • We engaged with and supported over 2,000 people during the year, including 330 inquiries to our information line mainly about COVID-19 and accessing dental services.
  • 84 volunteers helped us to carry out our work, contributing 8,127 hours.
  • We attended 612 decision-making meetings and 56 Board Meetings
  • We employ 6 staff 3 full time and 3 part-time.
  • £178,600 in funding from our local authority in 2020-21, the same as the previous year

Responding to COVID-19

This year we have helped thousands of people by:

  • Asking them about their experiences of accessing services throughout the coronavirus pandemic and sharing the findings with Commissioners. We captured hundreds of young people's views.
  • Responding to concerns about a lack of information about cancer services and care homes during COVID-19 lockdown by delivering a series of webinars attended by local experts who answered their questions.
  • Providing up-to-date advice on access to NHS dental services during COVID-19, and escalating people's concerns to NHS England and local city leaders.
  • Providing bulletins on COVID-19 and vaccinations keeping people updated and aware of changes. Our volunteers answered hundreds of questions working on the Council's Vaccine Help and Advice line.
  • Setting up and running a Hospital Discharge Wellbeing Service to check on the wellbeing of patients and raising discharge issues directly with our local Trust, and signposting people to support services

Non-COVID activities

While supporting people through the coronavirus pandemic we have continued to provide general advice and gather their views on health and care services. We have shared people's experiences and feedback with NHS Commissioners, NHS England, city health leaders, and the Healthwatch network.

This year we have helped hundreds of people by:

  • Asking them about their experiences of using the non-emergency Patient Transport Service in Sussex. Their feedback and ideas for improvement have been used by NHS Commissioners to redesign the service specification for the contract, which is due to be retendered this year. We have also fed patient's experiences back to the current service provider who we are now working closely with.
  • Recording the experiences of people receiving end of life care, and escalating findings to our local NHS Trust. We found that end of life care was not always a dignified and well-arranged experience. Our recommendations have been accepted in full by the NHS with a pledge to improve the care pathway and correct the elements of personal insensitivity and absence of coordinated planning that we found.

Our top three priorities for 2021-22

  • Supporting the NHS and City Council with COVID recovery
  • Speaking out for vulnerable people
  • Making sure decision makers keep their promises

In addition:

  • We will support those who are digitally disadvantaged: COVID-19 has highlighted existing health inequalities notably how the elderly, those in poverty or who first language is not English, have been unable to access remote and virtual appointments as easily. Ensuring that everyone has equal access to health and social care services will be a major focus for the next year.
  • We will ensure Young People's views are heard. Children and young people will inherit the NHS and social care system that we change in response to COVID-19. Young Healthwatch have gathered essential information about young people's attitudes to the COVID vaccine and use of sexual health services, and we will continue to collate more.
  • As COVID national restrictions are relaxed we will continue to help people by continuing our hospital discharge project, supporting the COVID Enquiry Vaccine Helpline, and promoting the universal vaccine.


You can download the report here. If you need it in a different format, please contact us at or 01273 234 041.

Annual Report 2021
“Sussex Commissioners would like to thank Healthwatch Brighton and Hove for their continued work and commitment to champion the voice of patients, carers and the public over the last year. ​ We have worked closely with Healthwatch through our COVID-19 response, winter demand, and in particular the Sussex COVID-19 Vaccination Programme. They have specifically supported the effort to inform the public effectively as the vaccination programme has been rolled out and also provided valuable insight that has shaped our ongoing approach; Healthwatch volunteers have also supported our Vaccine Enquiries Team in responding to a large volume of phone and email queries. ​ We look forward to working alongside them as we continue to restore health and care services for people in Brighton and Hove.”​
—  Jane Lodge​ Healthwatch NHS Relationship Manager​ Sussex NHS Commissioners

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