A HEALTH watchdog has been recognised for its work making a difference to people across Dorset.

Healthwatch Dorset has been chosen from more than 150 entries to be shortlisted for a national Healthwatch award for its work in developing more understandable advice and information about health and care services.

With local group Poole Forum, a speaking-up group run for and by people with learning disabilities, it produced an easy-read guide on how to make a complaint about a health or social care service. And with Bournemouth Deaf Club it made a video about Healthwatch in British Sign Language (BSL).

The Healthwatch Dorset BSL video features members of Bournemouth Deaf Club and is presented by Matt Kirby.

Matt said: “Healthwatch visited Bournemouth Deaf Club a few months ago and our members suggested that they make a sign language video for Dorset. When you’re deaf it can be really difficult to get the information that you need – so it’s been great to work on a project that makes Healthwatch Dorset available to everyone.”

In 2015/16, 152 local Healthwatch engaged more than 380,000 people to find out their views, visited more than 3,500 local services to find out if they are working for people, and published over 1,450 reports about what people want and need from health and care.

Joyce Guest, Healthwatch Dorset chairman, said: “We’re delighted to have been shortlisted for this national award. The Healthwatch team work really hard to make our information clear, easy to understand and without any jargon, by working with local communities. It’s a great achievement to have our work on accessible information celebrated in this way.”

Jane Mordue, chairman of Healthwatch England, said: “Once again, the Healthwatch network have highlighted the fantastic work that they do. The wide range of submissions, and the strength of those shortlisted, is testament to how the Healthwatch network is using people’s voices to make a difference to health and social care services.

“All of the submissions were of a very high standard, and I’d like to thank all who took part.”

The winner will be announced on July 6.