Frequently Asked Questions for this Service

Question: What is Local HealthWatch?

Answer: HealthWatch will be the independent consumer champion for the public i.e. service users, citizens, carers and patients – locally and nationally – to promote better outcomes in health for all and in social care for adults.

At the local authority level, Local HealthWatch will act as a point of contact for individuals, community groups and voluntary organisations when dealing with health and social care. Local HealthWatch will have a seat on local health and wellbeing boards to influence commissioning decisions by representing the views of local stakeholders. Information that Local HealthWatch gathers on patients’ and the public’s views and experiences of the NHS will inform HealthWatch England’s role in influencing health and social care services at the national level.

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Question: What are the responsibilities of Local HealthWatch?

Answer: Building on the LINks’ functions to involve and engage, to enter and view premises providing care to service users (as set out in the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007) the following describe the additional functions for local HealthWatch.

Influencing - local HealthWatch will present the views and experiences of local service users to local managers and decision makers (as well as to HealthWatch England at the national level) and be part of the decision making process on the local health and wellbeing board. It will also hold local providers to account by reporting on services and making recommendations.

Signposting - providing information to service users to access health and social care services and promoting choice. Some signposting is currently provided by Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), as part of their Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS) responsibilities, and it is the signposting function of PCT PALS which Local HealthWatch will take forward.

As a corporate body, Local HealthWatch will be able to employ its own staff, as well as continue the LINk legacy of recruiting volunteers, and be subject to public sector duties such as the Equality Act 2010.

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