As part of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, new consumer champions for users of health and social care services will be established in April 2013, these will be known as Local Healthwatch. Local Healthwatch will replace the Local Involvement Networks (LINks) and will have some additional functions.
Vision as set out in the Healthwatch Transition Plan published on 29th March 2011 by the Department of Health
Statement of Intent
Healthwatch will be the independent consumer champion for the public – locally and nationally – to promote better outcomes in health for all and in social care for adults.
Healthwatch will be representative of diverse communities. It will provide intelligence – including evidence from people’s views and experiences – to influence the policy, planning, commissioning and delivery of health and social care. Locally, it will also provide information and advice to help people access and make choices about services as well as access independent complaints advocacy to support people if they need help to complain about NHS services.
Healthwatch will have credibility and public trust through being responsive and acting on concerns when things go wrong, and operating effectively and efficiently.
Warwickshire currently has a Local Involvement Network (LINk) which is hosted jointly by Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action (WCAVA) and Age UK. Warwickshire LINk was established to:
- give everyone a chance to say what they think about their local health and social care services – what is working well and what could be improved
- give the people the chance to check how health and social care services are planned and run
- feedback what people have said about services, so that things can change for the better
Warwickshire County Council has the responsibility to ensure that our area has an effective and representative Local Healthwatch and has been working hard with the LINk and other key stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition. The Council has made a significant progress towards developing the new organisation that the Department of Health has given it a pathfinder status.
How will Healthwatch Warwickshire be established and who will provide the service?
Following a robust procurement process, Warwickshire County Council has awarded a contract to provide the countywide Healthwatch service to a local consortium led by the Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action (WCAVA).
The role of Healthwatch Warwickshire will be to provide information on local health and social care services to the public and also to enable public engagement with health providers. The new organisation, which will be a separate entity established for the prime and sole purpose of providing Healthwatch services, will also gather collective patient and public feedback and pass it on to service providers and commissioners to improve services.
Local Healthwatch will also assume the advice and signposting function currently performed by the Primary Care Trust’s Patients Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).
A transition period will run from January to the end of March and this will allow to prepare for delivery from 1st April 2013.
How have we been shaping Local Healthwatch?
Further update reports can be found on the web page of the Council’s Adult Social Care and Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee.