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Meet Julia Catherall, Engagement and Signposting Lead

Each month we will bring you behind the scenes to put the well deserved spotlight on our staff that help us make a difference to communities throughout the North East. This month meet Meet Julia Catherall, Engagement and Signposting Lead, for Healthwatch County Durham.


PCP is proud to deliver Healthwatch County Durham to the people of County Durham. Healthwatch County Durham is the independent champion for people who use health and social care services, ensuring the people of County Durham are put to the heart of care.

Can you give an overview of your role?

My job title is Engagement and Signposting Lead and I work full time. I work with both internal staff but probably more external staff. My role is primarily working with the public of County Durham to gather their views on health and care services. We do this in several different ways whether it be engagement events, 1-1 sessions, questionnaires, and online engagement. We then feed this back to commissioners of services with recommendations and suggestions on how they came make changes to services they deliver. We offer a signposting and information service where people of County Durham can give us a call on our freephone number with any issues or concerns regarding services they access. We can make calls on their behalf or signpost them to various services and organisations.


Describe a day-to-day in your role

No two days are the same and that is what I enjoy about my role. I could be attending a meeting or preparing for an event. I need to make sure I have everything I need in my little trolley – plenty of freebies, who doesn’t love a free pen?! The phone can ring at any time, and you never know what type of call it can be or how long you will spend with that person.


What do you like about working for the PCP/HWCD?

I started with PCP in June 2008 as an Administrator on another project that ran for five years. I was then TUPED (Transfer of Undertakings, Protection of Employment) to the organisation who won the new Healthwatch contract in April 2013. PCP then took over the contract when it went out for tender in 2016 and I was TUPED back to PCP!

What is the most rewarding aspect of the role?

It gives me a sense of achievement if I have helped and supported a person and given them the right information to support them with an issue they have regardless of how small or how long it has taken me. I love to see a work plan come to light. We ask the public what their main concerns are, or an area they would like us to focus our research on, this piece of work can take months of planning with us really concentrating on a particular area which the public have told us needs improving. Recently, we made recommendations on a piece of work around home care services and Durham County Council acknowledged our recommendations and were looking to improve the service. I work with a great team, we support each other and can be very vocal at our monthly team meetings.


Has there been any additional training you’ve done since you started working for the PCP/HWCD?

I have done loads of training over the years, mental health first aid, safeguarding adults, counter terrorism to name a few. One that stands out for me is the one I did through Learning Curve on Understanding Domestic Abuse. It gave me a better understanding of signs to look out for and the factors that may contribute to domestic abuse. I have worked with some lovely people over the time and made some lifelong friends.



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