Healthwatch is the new independent consumer champion that gathers and represents the public’s views on health and social care services in England.
It operates both on a national and local level and ensures that the views of the public and people who use the services are taken into account.
Healthwatch England is not a regulatory body such as the Care Quality Commission and does not have direct responsibility to change practices.
However, the organisation does have a statutory remit to collate evidence of service shortfalls and issues nationally and to ensure the regulators, other arms length bodies, and government departments, respond accordingly.
How Healthwatch works
The Healthwatch network is made up of two connected levels:
Healthwatch England works at the national level and is helping set up local Healthwatch organisations. The aim is to take local experiences of care and use them to influence national policy.
Local Healthwatch begun to work on April 1 2013. There is a local Healthwatch organisation in every local authority area in England. They will take the experiences people have of local care and use them to help shape local services.
Through the Healthwatch network, Healthwatch England will ensure the voices of people who use health and social care services are heard by the Secretary of State, the Care Quality Commission, the Monitor and every local authority in England.
Healthwatch England provides leadership, support and advice to local Healthwatch organisations so they can become strong ambassadors for local people.
They will gather and analyse information provided by local Healthwatch organisations and others to identify key issues and trends.
Local Healthwatch organisations will:
– have the power to enter and view services
– influence how services are set up and commissioned by having a seat on the local health and wellbeing board
– produce reports which influence the way services are designed and delivered
– provide information, advice and support about local services
– pass information and recommendations to Healthwatch England and the Care Quality Commission
Find your local Healthwatch.