HEALTH watchdogs will be visiting every accident and emergency department in Cheshire and Merseyside tomorrow.

Volunteers will be talking to patients about the reasons for their visit to try and build up an accurate picture of the pressures facing A&E departments.

Healthwatch Halton will be at Whiston Hospital finding out why people have come.

Health and care champions want to encourage patients to tell their stories as part of the #ItStartsWithYou campaign launched to highlight the difference patient feedback can make.

They will then make sure that what patients say is taken into account when NHS bosses are making decisions about services.

A&E departments are a crucial part of the NHS, open every day of the year, around the clock to deal with our emergency health issues.

Local Healthwatch hope that the simultaneous visits taking place from 1pm to 4pm on Monday, July 17, will provide a snapshot of why people use A&E and what people think about things like quality of care and waiting times.

Across the country A&E usage is rising, departments are getting busier, more pressured and waiting times are growing.

Frontline staff are working harder to give patients the care they need. Even in the summer months – when pressures are generally lower than in winter – some people are still finding themselves facing a long wait.

Matthew Roberts, manager of Healthwatch Halton said: “We want to find out why people have attended A&E.

“Is it because of an unexpected accident, a sudden deterioration of a long-term health problem, a difficulty getting a GP appointment or a worrying health problem that feels like it can’t wait.

“Sometimes A&E will be the best or only place to go. Other times there may have been better options such as the Urgent Care Centres.

“All of the information we gather during our visit will be fed back in to services and decision makers to help get our care right in future – in hospitals, GP practices and community health services.”

Healthwatch Halton wants to hear from anyone else who has recently used an A&E in the area.

The Healthwatch network exists to make it easy for people to give feedback about health and care services, requiring no more than a short telephone call, email or even a Tweet.

Feedback can also be left directly on the Healthwatch Halton website at