The Government’s health and social care reforms are centred on the fundamental principle that patients and the public must be at the heart of everything our health and social care services do.
As part of this the Health and Social Care Act 2012 establishes Healthwatch England at the national level and requires local authorities to establish Local Healthwatch in their areas.
Further information about the local Healthwatch
Local Healthwatch explained
Local Healthwatch is the new independent consumer champion for patients, carers and all those using health and social care services, as well as the wider public, ensuring that the views and feedback from patients and carers are taken into account when decisions are taken on services across health and social care. This will include consultation with children and young people on health and social care services.
The purpose of Local Healthwatch is to ensure that:
people are at the heart of all health and social care services
health and social care outcomes in England are among the best in the world
there is promotion of the joining up of local NHS services, social care and health improvement.
More detail on the governments plans for Local Healthwatch and Healthwatch England can be found on the Local Healthwatch - the policy explained pages.
Local Healthwatch is funded by and accountable to local councils. This means that Hampshire County Council is responsible for ensuring that the county’s local Healthwatch is operating effectively, and for putting in place better arrangements if they are not.
The County Council is responsible for establishing Local Healthwatch as an independent social enterprise.
The role of Local Healthwatch
The County Council must ensure that Local Healthwatch:
- Undertakes public and patient engagement, building on the activities of the Local Involvement Networks (LINks). Local Healthwatch will actively engage communities in a dialogue about their health and social care needs to ensure that services act upon feedback and can demonstrate that they have done so.
- Signposts people to information about local health and care services and how to access them.
- Provides an independent advocacy service to assist individuals complaining about NHS services (subject to this being included in the legislation).
In order to be effective we need to create a local Healthwatch which:
- Reaches out and connects to a diverse range of local people and communities.
- Gathers good local intelligence and evidence that can inform their contribution to local commissioning and scrutiny and provide evidence for the prioritisation of their activities.
- Monitors local health and social care services and produces reports on their findings, which will lead to more accessible and higher quality services.
- Through their access to user feedback and data from service providers, highlights any lapses in the quality of services.
- Provides access to other centrally-held information and data so that local people can make use of this in exercising choice.
- Provides an effective user voice that can influence Clinical Commissioning Groups, Health and Wellbeing Boards and providers of local services whilst working effectively with the third sector and developing mutually beneficial partnerships with networks that already exist.
- Develops robust and credible governance and accountability arrangements.
- Is clear about the roles and responsibilities of both paid staff and volunteers.
- Focuses on necessary training and development of Healthwatch members and staff so that their impact can be maximised from the outset.
- Uses the leadership, guidance and support provided by Healthwatch England.
How can I get involved?
If you need information or advice about local health or social care services or want to say something (good or bad) about local health or social care services and help make a difference, you can contact Healthwatch Hampshire:
In person at your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau
By telephone – 01962 440 262
By post – Freepost RTCY-EGYG-XETR, Healthwatch Hampshire, Beaconsfield House, Andover Road, Winchester SO22 6AT
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org