Charities join forces in push for greater people power in local health and care services

Four leading national charities have joined forces today to encourage more people and communities to get involved and have a say on how health and social care services are run in their area.

CSV, Regional Voices, NAVCA and National Voices have launched a new drive called Healthwatch-Communities Involved, to raise awareness amongst local people and community groups and volunteers about how they can play a greater role in shaping their services.

Local health and social care is changing rapidly. The ways in which people can participate in shaping these local services are also changing. From 1 April, a new local consumer champion – local Healthwatch, with the powers to hold local services to account, will be set up in every city and county council in the country.

Healthwatch-Communities Involved aims to increase involvement in Healthwatch and build on existing initiatives to involve people in shaping health and social care services. It wants to make it easier for people from all backgrounds and interests to hold their services to account.

The charities are inviting local groups and people to declare their support and interest by signing up online to join a map of groups and individuals in England who are interested in and ready to get involved.

The charities will connect local groups with people on the map so they can be kept informed and invited to get involved with the local Healthwatch activities in their area.

Speaking on behalf of Healthwatch-Communities Involved: Oonagh Aitken, CSV director of Social Action and Volunteering says today:

“Our organisations welcome the opportunity to work in partnership on such a fundamental issue – the role that local people can play in shaping their services.

“There is so much potential for people to make a difference, such as getting involved in the new local Healthwatch groups, as members of their hospital trust or through their GPs.

“The changes in the health and care system must be driven by the needs and preferences of local people. So to help people get involved we will help them to get their voices heard by the new organisations in charge of our health and social care services”.

Over the next three months, Healthwatch-Communities Involved will host a series of free workshops and training sessions across England. These events will inspire and give people the skills and knowledge to build their confidence to get involved in a way that best suits them.

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Notes:

  • For further details on the workshops or for any other enquiries, contact Francesca Toma, Press Officer, CSV. 020 7643 1418 , or email: info@healthwatch-ci.co.uk
  • The website can be found at http://healthwatch-ci.co.uk/
  • This is a Department of Health Funded initiative
  • Healthwatch CI is a partnership of four leading charity groups with access to national and regional networks of some 30,000 individuals, voluntary and community organisations. The four charities are: Community Service Volunteers (CSV), NAVCA (National Association for Voluntary and Community Action), National Voices, Regional Voices
  • Community Service Volunteers (CSV) is the UK charity that helps people transform their lives and their communities through volunteering and learning. For fifty years they have worked with people who are excluded, marginalised and rejected. CSV’s vision is of a society where everyone can participate to build strong and inclusive communities. Its mission is to enable people to take an active role in their communities.
  • NAVCA (National Association for Voluntary and Community Action) is the national voice of local support and development organizations inEngland.  The charity champions and strengthens voluntary and community action by supporting members in their work with over 160,000 local charities and community groups.
  • It provides members with networking opportunities, specialist advice, support, policy information and training. NAVCA provides a bridge between local groups and national government. NAVCA leads on the issues that matter most to local support and development organisations. It also influences national and local government policy to strengthen local voluntary and community action.
  • National Voices is the national coalition of health and social care charities inEngland. It works together to strengthen the voice of patients, service users, carers, their families and the voluntary organisations that work for them. It has more than 150 members with 130 charity members and 20 professional and associate members. Our broad membership, rooted in people’s experience, represents millions of people, and covers a diverse range of health conditions and communities.
  • Regional Voices is a national collaboration connecting voluntary and community organisations to decision-makers, throughout England, so they can shape and improve health and social care for communities. They have a national network of over 24,000 voluntary and community organisations, supported by 9 regional networks, covering each English region.
  • From April 2013 there will be 152 local Healthwatch organisations across the country. Local Healthwatch organisations will be social enterprises commissioned by local councils. These organisations will provide users with information about the choices in care available to them, advise them what to do if they have any problems and help Clinical Commissioning Groups and local authorities develop services to meet the needs of citizens. A member of each local Healthwatch will have a seat on the local Health and wellbeing board giving them an equal say in the local decision making process and they will be able to provide consumer feedback to help Healthwatch England influence change at a national level.
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