People who use health and social care services in Hartlepool  are being offered the opportunity to help improve the delivery of services by taking part in inspections by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Remploy, the leading provider of specialist employment services for disabled people and those with health conditions, operates the Experts by Experience programme in Hartlepool and plays a vital role in supporting CQC inspections.

Experts by Experience are people who have experience of using health and social care services either personally or as a carer for a family member and they give users of these services an important voice in inspections.

They bring a user’s perspective to the inspections and know which questions to ask to get as much information as possible. Their findings are used to support the inspectors’ judgments on services and can also be included in inspection reports.

The CQC is seeking to expand the Experts by Experience programme and Remploy is looking to recruit individuals to become an Expert and be at the forefront of developing and improving health and social care services in Hartlepool.

Gareth Parry, Remploy Chief Executive, said: “Experts by Experience play a vital role in providing expert advice to the CQC inspection teams. They bring first-hand experience and expertise to inspection teams and Mental Health Act visits to improve the outcome of social care service inspections.

“We particularly want to hear from:

  • Carers of family members with Dementia and older people

  • Carers of family members with learning disabilities, including experience of services for mental health and autism

  • People who have recently used mental health services

“I would encourage anyone interested in becoming an Expert by Experience to get in touch with our team to find out more,” Mr Parry said.

What does an Expert by Experience do?

Experts by Experience take part in inspections of health and social care services with an inspector, either on the telephone, at a group meeting or a site visit. You do not need any formal qualifications to become an Expert. The work also includes:

  • Consultations

  • Events

  • Staff training

  • Developing guidance and practice methods

How can you become an Expert by Experience?

Experts by Experience (supported by a support worker if required) should have:

  • Ability to listen to and communicate with people

  • Ability to accurately record and report on the evidence they have gathered, with or without support

  • Ability to demonstrate empathy and teamwork

  • A flexible and positive attitude

  • Ability to provide written information as required

What is it like to be an Expert?

Robert, who recently became an Expert, said he is “passionate about supporting the CQC to ensure high standards of care for people who use health and social care services. I have now completed two inspections.

“I have several years’ experience with a neurological and physical/sensory impairment. I also work with adults who have both learning and various disability difficulties.

“I am an Expert in physical/sensory and mental health so can support both types of inspections. I enjoy being an Expert and spending time talking to people who use the service and also observe the environment.  I have first-hand experience of receiving care so I know which questions to ask to get as much information from the visit as possible.”

If you would like to know more about becoming an Expert by Experience, phone 0300 456 8123.or email expertevents@remploy.co.uk