Healthwatch England is the new, independent consumer champion for health and social care. Its job is to argue for the consumer interests of all who use health and social care services, including cancer services. You can find out what Healthwatch is all about here.
A regular newsletter is being produced to keep everyone who is interested up to date with Healthwatch developments. You can get yourself added to the mailing list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Plans are well underway to support the local Healthwatch network which means that there will be a local Healthwatch presence near you.
In February 2013, the Healthwatch England Committee agreed on four priority areas of work for the forthcoming year:
●Ensuring consumers have the right to be heard: In the Autumn Healthwatch England will publish its first annual report on consumers’ views and experiences of health and social care. It will also highlight good practice in consumer engagement across both health and social care.
●Seeking an effective right to redress: Healthwatch England will make recommendations across the health and social care system as to how consumers’ concerns and complaints are heard and acted upon.
●Supporting local Healthwatch: Healthwatch England will work to give local Healthwatch the support they need at this key stage of development.
●Ensuring Healthwatch England is an effective champion for consumers: Healthwatch England will work to ensure that it acts with most effect in a changing health and social care landscape.
The Healthwatch network has received an extra boost with over 130 community and voluntary organisations pledging support to join a ‘Healthwatch Alliance’. If you would further information on the proposed ‘Alliance’, you can email email@example.com
While the Health and Social Care Act 2012 established the Healthwatch network, the local Healthwatch Regulations detail how the network of 152 local Healthwatch will run. These have been the cause of some debate, particularly around the question of campaigning. A short guide to the regulations can be downloaded here
A review aimed at ensuring that all hospitals listen to and act upon the concerns and complaints of patients was launched on 15th March by Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt.
It is being led by Ann Clwyd, MP for the Cynon Valley, and Professor Tricia Hart, Chief Executive of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and advisor to Robert Francis during his two inquiries into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust. For more information on the review click here
Healthwatch England has also recently responded independently to the Frances report. Find out what it had to say here