Ground-breaking work to involve local people in the delivery of their health and social care services, pioneered by Surrey Heartlands in partnership with Healthwatch Surrey, has won a national award. The award was announced by NHS boss Simon Stevens at the Healthwatch England Annual Conference.

The Healthwatch England award category ‘NHS 70’ was designed to recognise NHS or social care organisations, teams or individuals who have put people at the heart of their care. Healthwatch Surrey highlighted how Surrey Heartlands are leading the way in giving local people the opportunity to co-design health and care service improvements through a ‘Citizen-led Engagement and Communications’ approach.

Kate Scribbins, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Surrey said: “We are delighted with the recognition for the work we are doing with our Surrey Heartlands partners to truly embed the role of local people in the development of the local health and care services.”

The Citizen Ambassador is an independent role created earlier this year to give a voice to the wide range of local people not usually engaged in discussions on the future of services but who nevertheless have a stake in how they develop.

Rich Stockley, Head of Research and Engagement for Surrey Heartlands said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this award for our Citizen Ambassador programme that we have developed with Healthwatch Surrey. Ensuring the voice of local people can truly influence how we are trying to improve and join up local health and care services is a fundamental part of our overall strategy. This programme aims to reach our ordinary citizens in a way that’s not been done before and we are already seeing the value of our Citizen Ambassadors around the table.”