Today sees the first public meeting of Healthwatch England take place in Leeds.
Healthwatch England has been up and running for a matter of weeks now and will lead the new Healthwatch network that launches from April 2013. Established under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the purpose of Healthwatch England is to strengthen the collective voice of consumers and users of health and social care services in England at a national level.
Today’s meeting will see the Committee, who bring a range of expertise in local government, third sector, health, children’s services and disability, consult on where Healthwatch England can focus its energy and resources.
Anna Bradley, Chair of Healthwatch England says:
“Deciding where we focus our energy and resources is important – we have to be sure we add value where it’s most needed. Naturally we cannot do this alone. We are already working with other experts in the third sector and national bodies to draw on their rich experience and knowledge.
I think we have a great opportunity to give consumers a voice at national level, building on what is said at local level.
Norman Lamb, Health Minister, said:
“We want to put people at the heart of health and care services and Healthwatch England will play a vital part in these plans. It will make sure that people have a stronger voice to share experiences about their care, that they are listened to and that they have greater influence to drive improvements.
“Healthwatch England will need to both build and lead the network of local Healthwatch and become the national consumer champion for health and care services. The calibre of expertise and experience on the committee will enable Healthwatch England to rise strongly to this challenge and make sure that the views of the public are heard at a local and national level.”
For more information, please visit the Healthwatch England website