Seventy-five local HealthWatch pathfinders have been announced today. The pathfinders will pioneer plans ahead of the full establishment of local HealthWatch across the country in October 2012.
Local HealthWatch will provide a collective voice for patients and carers, and advise the new clinical commissioning groups on the shape of local services to ensure they are informed by the views of the local community. They will champion patients’ views and experiences, promote the integration of local services and improve choice for patients through advice and access to information.
Visiting a new HealthWatch pathfinder in Cambridgeshire, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘Putting patients and the public at the very heart of the health service is central to our vision of modernising the NHS and today is huge step forward.
‘The network of Local HealthWatch will give patients and carers a real say over how their local health service is run. They will act as patient champions, drive local involvement in the community and ensure patients understand the choices available to them.’
HealthWatch England, a national body, will also be established in October 2012. It will enable the collective views of the people who use NHS and adult social care services to influence national policy, advice and guidance.
The HealthWatch pathfinders are:
Bath and North East Somerset
Blackburn with Darwen
City of London
Isles of Scilly
Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham
Kingston upon Thames
North East Lincolnshire
North Lincolnshire Council & LINk
Richmond upon Thames
South Gloucestershire and Bristol
Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth (SHIP)
Southend on Sea
Telford and Wrekin