The role of the Volunteer Support Officer is to manage a team of Enter and View volunteers and lead on the Enter and View visits that we carry out.
In 2019 we worked on a project with Swindon Advocacy Movement to carry out Enter and View visits on a variety of NHS services from the perspective of someone with a disability. In the final visit of this project to a dental practice, we were a team of three which included a supporter from Swindon Advocacy Movement and a Healthwatch Volunteer.
Sometimes, but not always, we give advance notice of an Enter and View visit. For every Enter and View visit we also hand out printed posters to be displayed at the Service to give the public, patients and staff an opportunity to contact us either on the day, or soon after to give us their feedback on the Service we are visiting.
This visit took place on a very hot day in 2019 and the Enter and View team of three met in an old town car park to walk together across to the Surgery. Each of us had the relevant ID, a pen, leaflets and a clipboard with a set of questions to ask people we met at the Dental Practice. We worked as a team moving through the Dental practice writing down our findings, taking photographs and comments from people we spoke to.
In this visit we were able to speak to patients and staff and explain their anonymous comments could be included in the final report if they wished. We were careful not to disrupt the day to day running of the dental practice and the whole visit took 2 hours.
After the visit, outside in the sunshine, we discussed how it went and shared our initial findings with each other. Our supporter from Swindon Advocacy Movement gave their comments and these were taken into account in the final report. Our Healthwatch Volunteer sent their report later that day by email when they had written up their report at home.
In response to our draft report the dental practice sent us photographs of some of the changes they made immediately in response to our recommendations. These photographs were included in our final report and we were able to identify some small changes which were already implemented to improve the services at the Dental Surgery from the perspective of someone with a disability.