Healthwatch Surrey gives people a powerful voice locally and nationally. It will work to help local people to get the best out of their local health and social care services … whether it is improving the services today, or helping to shape them for tomorrow. It is all about local voices being able to influence the delivery and design of local services … not just people who use them, but anyone who might need to in the future.
Healthwatch Surrey - part of the Healthwatch England national network - is a new independent organisation that will give people a voice to improve and shape services, and to help them to get the best out of health and social care.
What is Healthwatch?
Healthwatch is the new independent consumer champion for both health and social care. It exists in two distinct forms – local Healthwatch, at local level, and Healthwatch England, at national level. The aim of local Healthwatch is to give citizens and communities a stronger voice to influence and challenge how health and social care services are provided within their locality. Local Healthwatch provides, or signposts, people to information to help them make choices about health and care services.
Local Healthwatch is an independent organisation, able to employ its own staff and involve volunteers, to become the influential and effective voice of the public.
- Has a seat on the statutory Health and Wellbeing Boards, ensuring that the views and experiences of patients, carers and other service users are taken into account when local needs assessments and strategies are prepared, such as the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) and the re-authorisation of Clinical Commissioning Groups. This ensures that local Healthwatch has a role in promoting public health, health improvements and in tackling health inequalities. More information on the authorisation process for CCGs is on the Department of Health website:
- Enables people to share their views and concerns about their local health and social care services and understands that their contribution will help build a picture of where services are doing well and where they can be improved.
- Alerts Healthwatch England, or CQC and/ or council scrutiny committees where appropriate, to concerns about specific care providers, health or social care matters.
- Provides people with information about their choices and what to do when things go wrong. This includes either signposting people to the relevant provider, or itself providing (if commissioned by the Council), independent advocacy to individuals who want to complain about NHS services.
- Signposts people to information about local health and care services and how to access them.
- Gives authoritative, evidence-based feedback to organisations responsible for commissioning or delivering local health and social care services.
- Can help and support Clinical Commissioning Groups and the Council social care departments, to make sure that services really are designed to meet citizen's needs.
- Should be inclusive and reflect the diversity of the community it serves. There is an explicit requirement in the Health & Social Care Act 2012 that the way in which local Healthwatch exercises its functions must be representative of local people and different users of services.