Lived Experience (VTQ) Articles

Thank you for your interest in Lived Experience (VTQ). We hope you enjoy these articles that discuss some important issues in our industry.

Healthwatch Essex report underpins new plan to improve mental health for children and young people

First published 15th January 2016 by Healthwatch Essex - Essex, Southend and Thurrock today launched a £3.3 million plan to improve mental health for children and young people. The findings of the Healthwatch Essex YEAH! report, in which we engaged over 400 young people, underpin the proposed service overhaul. Some of the relevant findings from the Healthwatch Essex YEAH! report were:

SWEET! report urges innovation to engage hard-to-reach youngsters

Local NHS and social care services have much to learn from the experiences of young people in Essex living in deprived areas, says a new report titled SWEET! that has been published by Healthwatch Essex.

Powerful testimonies at 555 event

First published 8th June 2016 by Healthwatch Essex - Five people from across Essex provided powerful testimonies about their experiences of being diagnosed and coping with various neurological conditions at the launch of the 555 Neurology Project report last night (8th June). At an event held at Chelmsford City Racecourse, the Healthwatch Essex project, run in collaboration with MSUK and in partnership with charities from across the county through the Essex Neurology Network, allowed senior staff from Essex Clinical Commissioning Groups, local neurologists and health professionals to come together to hear the lived experience of people diagnosed with a neurological condition in the past three years.

Insights into frailty – new film and podcast

Healthwatch Essex have a new film and podcast has shed light on the issue of frailty and the importance of an increasingly elderly population maintaining their health as they grow older. The work has been commissioned by the Essex Success Regime, which is looking to reconfigure health and care services in mid and south Essex over the coming years. The Success Regime will implement a range of measures including reducing expenditure on agency staff, alleviating pressure on emergency services and ensuring that the health and care system has a sustainable financial balance.

Love your senses – sensory impairment project

First published 20th October 2016 by Healthwatch Essex - On 20th October the first of five focus groups will kick off our latest project, which is looking to understand the challenges people with sensory impairments face when trying to access health and care services in the county. The project is inviting people who have a hearing and/or sight impairment to get involved in focus groups over the coming month, with an event and report planned for Valentine’s Day next year to tie in with the ‘love your senses’ theme.

Disabled people asked to collaborate over new model

The best people to ask about how well public services are working are the people who use those services. It might sound obvious, but all too often things are designed to make life easy for the people who run the service, often at the expense of the user. Have you tried phoning your bank recently?! A project known as Collaborate Essex is seeking to use that simple premise as the basis for a brand-new model to support the design and development of services to disabled people. And it needs anyone with a disability or any carer who looks after someone with a disability, to share their experiences and their opinions.

New film featuring ECC CEO launched on Collaborate Essex website

The Chief Executive of Essex County Council, Gavin Jones, has endorsed the pioneering Collaborate Essex project that is looking to create a brand-new model to support the design and development of services to disabled people. In a new film made by Healthwatch Essex subsidiary HWE Insights and posted on the project’s website – – Mr Jones spells out why it is so important that anyone in the county with a disability, or any carer who looks after someone with a disability, share their experiences and their opinions.

How does a sensory impairment affect the use of health services?

Our latest engagement project highlights the significant issues people with sensory impairments (of which there are 180,000 in the county) experience when accessing and using health and care services in the county.

New study lifts the lid on mental health self-care in Essex

We have used Mental Health Awareness Week to launch our new report that reveals the state of what it is like for Essex residents to access the help and support they need to cope with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

Listening to the voice of people with dementia

Our latest piece of engagement work has broken new ground by helping people with dementia explain to those commissioning and providing services what life is like for them. While there is plenty of good information out there from carers, relatives and professionals about the issue of dementia, all too often the individual living with the condition is not listened to.

New report reveals the health care experiences of Essex homeless

Healthwatch's latest research study has exposed the challenges facing homeless people in accessing health care services. “Homelessness is a growing problem, with around 3,000 people across the county homeless or lacking a permanent place to live,” said Dr David Sollis, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Essex. “Accordingly, we felt it was time to speak to some of those people to understand the issues they face when it comes to their health and wellbeing.”

About Lived Experience training from ProTrainings and Healthwatch Essex

This online course has been designed to equip participants with the skills they need to collect and represent the voice of whoever they engage with.

What is active listening?

Active listening is a communication technique that is used in counselling, training and conflict resolution. It requires that the listener fully concentrate, understand, respond and then remember what is being said. Active listening also involves the listener observing the speaker's behaviour and body language.

What is ‘lived experience’?

‘Lived experience’ describes people’s first-hand accounts of health and care. How they experience services is affected by their own personal circumstances, for example, whether they have a family or whether they are in work.