Healthwatch – Your Health, Your Care, Your Say!
The National Health Service has recently experienced some pretty big changes, but hopefully if you are accessing health services such as your local GP or hospital you shouldn’t notice anything different. The changes are mainly to do with how things are funded, and who makes the decisions about how services should be delivered. As part of the shakeup, the government has created Healthwatch, a new organisation which is meant to act as a consumer champion for health and social care in England.
The aim of Healthwatch is to give those accessing health and social care services a voice, ensuring everyone’s views and experiences are heard by those who run, plan and regulate health and social care services. There are 152 local Healthwatches nationally, and these are overseen by Healthwatch England which is responsible for orchestrating national campaigns and offering advice and support to each local group. Every local Healthwatch is tasked with:
- Providing people with information, advice and support about local health and social care services
- Gathering the views and experiences of local people on the way services are delivered
- Influencing the way services are designed and delivered at the local level
- Influencing how services are set up and commissioned by having a seat on the local Health and Wellbeing Board
Your local Healthwatch wants to hear your views and experiences of health and social care services, positive or negative. It gives you the opportunity to feedback about what the services you access do well, and what you think they should change to make things better. By law, those who run and plan health and social care services have to listen to what Healthwatch has to say, so by speaking up about your experiences you could bring about changes which have a positive impact on local services.
Healthwatch is there to listen to everyone, and actively seeks views and opinions from those who sometimes struggle to be heard, so if you do have something to say, why not contact your local Healthwatch for advice and guidance?
To find the contact details for your local Healthwatch you can visit their website www.healthwatch.co.uk or you can call them on 03000 68 3000.