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Healthwatch England is the independent customer champion, part of the voluntary sector, for health and social care services. It ensures the overall views and experiences of people who use health and social care services are taken seriously both locally and nationally.

The role of Healthwatch

Healthwatch England leads and supports the Healthwatch network – comprising 148 community-focused local groups. Our local community is Healthwatch Dudley where we work locally to promote better outcomes in health and social care:

  • Providing intelligence to influence policy, planning, commissioning and delivery of health and social care services.
  • Providing information and advice to help you access and make choices about services.
  • Helping to access the independent complaints advocacy to support you if you need help to complain about NHS services.
  • Having credibility and public trust through being responsive and acting on concerns when things go wrong and operating effectively and efficiently.
  • Be statutory organisations (i.e. established by law).

Healthwatch Dudley - what do we do?

We engage with members of the community to gather information (both positive and negative) and pass this on to the people providing and planning the services. We do this so services can share and learn from each other.  We also provide a signposting function, which means that people can contact us for help to find services, pass on positive feedback or for information about where to go if things have not gone so well and you wish to make a complaint.

We are independent of the NHS and the council.

Influencing

  • Obtain and present the views and experiences of local people and make those views known to those involved in the commissioning, provision and scrutiny of health and care services as well as to Healthwatch England at the national level.
  • Be part of the local health and wellbeing board and other key influencing forums.
  • Challenge poor practice and support high quality health and social care services.
  • Operate independently.
  • In collaboration with other agencies, undertake specific projects that will contribute to a better understanding of local needs and experiences.

Signposting

  • Provide information to local people to enable effective access to health and social care services and promoting choice.
  • Signposting of health services is currently provided by Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), as part of their Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS) responsibilities.
  • The local Healthwatch will either provide or signpost the public to NHS complaints advocacy to support people with complaints.

Advising

  • Produce reports and make recommendations about how services could be improved.
  • Through ‘Enter and View’ visits advise and inform as to how services can better place people at the centre of everything they do.
  • Alerting Healthwatch England to concerns about health and social care providers.

Engaging

  • Embrace, harness, promote and support existing activity in order to maximise patient, public and service user involvement in the review and development of services.
  • Explore opportunities to become involved in broader engagement activity.