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Your spotlight on local services

A Recap of my Work Experience


Hello, I'm Afshara, a secondary school student and this is my recap of my work experience week with Healthwatch Barking and Dagenham


On the first day of my work experience with Healthwatch Barking and Dagenham, I gained insight into what Healthwatch does from the team which helped understand their previous reports on enhancing social care access for the South Asian community and Social Prescribing and Mental Health report. This also gave me knowledge of the type of issues the community was facing and how Healthwatch supports creating solutions to them. Afterwards I had a meeting with Peter, a Policy and Engagement Officer and Rifan, a volunteer, about Peter’s bowel cancer screening project. He explained the reasoning and purpose of his project for the community and how we can support the work.  Later in the day, I shadowed Peter in his meeting with NHS managers within the North East London Cancer Alliance, who introduced his bowel cancer screening project to them.  



At the start of the day, I joined the team’s morning catch up where we stated what we had going on for the day. After the meeting, I did some research into 50-year-old plus groups in the borough for Healthwatch to hold bowel cancer screening engagement sessions. Shortly after I went to a Mums and Toddlers’ play group with Agne, a Project and Engagement Officer, for an engagement session focusing on her women’s reproductive and sexual health project. As this was my first time experiencing an engagement session, I was quite excited to gain exposure into how health and community interact. In the session, the women were happy to participate in the project and filled in the service. We explained how their contributions will help to improve the services if needed. 



After the daily morning catch-up, I shadowed Agne, who had a meeting with a dental clinic on bedbound patients accessing dental treatment through home visits. I learned about the process of requesting a home visit and the steps taken by the staff to accommodate the patient while giving them the treatment needed. After lunch, I went to another engagement session to survey the women on the reproductive and sexual health project.  



The team usually works remotely on Thursday but the morning catch-up goes on, which I attended. Afterwards, I met up with Peter at Barking and Dagenham College for a general engagement session, raising awareness of Healthwatch to students. He explained to SEND students and staff Healthwatch contribution to the community and detailed the past project topics such as the education health care plan and community dental service, which also gave me further insight into the relationship between health and the local community. He also highlighted work experience and volunteering opportunities such as what I’ve been doing, and presented the projects they are running this year which people can support on. 



For the final day of my work experience, I finished up the remaining tasks for the week, such this blog, and a summary about community dental services for people that are bedbound. 

Overall, I am very grateful to be able to do my work experience with Healthwatch. It was a wonderful experience, and I was able to learn about the service they provide, as well as understand how much of an important role they play in improving services the public access to provide a better experience for everyone.  


Healthwatch Barking and Dagenham
Lifeline House
25 Neville Road
Dagenham, Essex RM8 3QS