From April to June 2012 the Department of Health sought the views of stakeholders and the public relating to the issues around the local Healthwatch regulations.
The Department ran workshops with targeted stakeholders and experts in the field and held discussions with the wider public through online web chats. It is continuing to consult with targeted groups on some of the details around these issues.
Healthwatch will be the new consumer champion for both health and social care. It will exist in two distinct forms - local Healthwatch, at local level, and Healthwatch England, at national level. Local Healthwatch will replace Local Involvement Networks (LINks), carrying forward the LINks functions while taking on new, additional functions.