We are here to listen but if you have a question that you think other people have already asked, have a look at the FAQs below first.
Is Healthwatch part of the NHS?
No, local Healthwatch organisations are established as fully independent autonomous bodies that will work with the public to improve health and social care services. Healthwatch England is a statutory committee within the Care Quality Commission.
Is local Healthwatch accountable to Healthwatch England?
No, Healthwatch England provide leadership, guidance and support to local HealthWatch organisations. However, each local Healthwatch is accountable to their own local authority, board members and commissioners.
What will happen to Local Involvement Networks (LINks)?
Local Involvement Networks (LINks) ceased on the 31st March 2013. Their work and legacy is being carried forward as part of the remit of Healthwatch East Sussex.
How does local Healthwatch differ from LINks?
Many of the strengths of LINks will be migrated over to local Healthwatch organisations but there are a number of key differences between the two organisations:
- LINks only had a remit for adult health and social care services. Local Healthwatch is responsible for capturing the views of both children and adults
- Local Healthwatch has a statutory place on Health and Wellbeing Boards
- A national network will be put in place to support the development of local Healthwatch organisations, from their start-up to being fully functional organisations
- Local Healthwatch signpost patients to services where there is good practice and a strong reputation
- Local Healthwatch notice trends in public opinion and feedback to Healthwatch England
- Local Healthwatch make recommendations to Healthwatch England for action at a national level
Why is Social Care not in the name/logo of the organisation?
Healthwatch England has ensured its health and social care remit has been widely communicated and will continue to do so in all of its messages.
Messages developed to support local Healthwatch have been specifically designed to raise awareness of its role in health AND social care and would expect that awareness to increase locally.
The decision on the name of Healthwatch was made at a central government level, at the inception of the White Paper.
How will Healthwatch East Sussex work with other voluntary and community sector groups/organisations?
The organisation delivering Healthwatch East Sussex has developed a Partner Framework to engage with local voluntary and community organisations.
How can I become involved?
We need people who are passionate about improving health and social care in East Sussex to become volunteers. You may already be active in your local community through charity or voluntary groups, be a member of a patient forum or have no previous experience. Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about volunteering opportunities.
How can you guarantee a mix of different people involved in local Healthwatch?
This is the responsibility of the local Healthwatch, which should reflect its local community – much of this will be delivered through local networks and relationships. There is no ‘one size fits all’ for local Healthwatch and each community’s need will be different. The mix of board members and volunteers will be decided locally.
Healthwatch England are developing partnerships nationally to drive awareness of the Healthwatch programme among hard to reach groups and those representing all age-groups. It is hoped this will increase involvement at a local level.
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