FOUR organisations will share more than £11,000 to help highlight problems in the county’s health services.

New watchdog Healthwatch Oxfordshire launched its Project Fund last November to learn more about people’s experiences of using county health and social care services to identify where improvements could be made.

Over the next three months each of the organisations – Oxfordshire Family Support Network, Oxford Asian Women’s Project, Oxford Mental Health Forum and Community Glue – will monitor how services are delivered.

Information will be collated by each group and fed back to Healthwatch. Details will be made public in May.

It will then take any issues to Oxfordshire health service chiefs, Oxfordshire County Council and the Department for Health.

Healthwatch has £30,000 to spend this year and another £30,000 in the next financial year.

Healthwatch chairman Larry Sanders said: “We are delighted at the range of interest in our Project Fund.

“These research projects will significantly add to Healthwatch Oxfordshire’s intelligence about local residents’ experiences of services across the county.

“The funding will assist community groups and frontline workers to understand the needs of their user groups better.

“We will use the findings to work with community organisations and commissioners providing health and social care, to help shape and improve services going forward.”

s Oxfordshire Family Support Network received £2,980 to research the health service experiences of people with learning disabilities and their families s Oxford Asian Women’s Project was awarded £4,750 to research the health and social care experiences of Asian women in Oxford, with a focus on GPs, mental health and domiciliary care s Oxford Mental Health Forum received £1,000 to look at the information and support available locally on mental health services for young people s Community Glue was awarded £2,755 to find out more information about people’s experiences following the introduction of Personal Health Budgets.

Jan Sunman, from Oxfordshire Family Support Network, said: “We are delighted we have been given a grant by Healthwatch Oxfordshire to enable us to carry out a study of the support, advice and information needs of people with learning disabilities and mental health needs, as well as their families.

“Coping with these challenges can be very stressful for families and our aim, through this scoping study, is to gain a better understanding of the support and practical help needed to make the whole experience less stressful.”

Healthwatch Oxfordshire is also working on projects in partnership with the Oxford University Careers Service looking at students’ use of local health services, Oxford City Council’s communities and neighbourhood team’s proposed quality of life survey.

It is also involved with The Patients’ Association survey which is asking people across Oxfordshire to give feedback on their experience accessing their GP and other primary care services.

The watchdog’s board is currently considering a second set of applications.

For more information, visit