What is Healthwatch Leicester?
Healthwatch is the consumer champion for Health and Social Care. A local Healthwatch is an independent organisation, able to employ its own staff and involve volunteers, so it can become the influential and effective voice of the public. It keeps accounts and makes its annual reports available to the public.
The aim of local Healthwatch is to give citizens and communities a stronger voice to influence and challenge how health and social care services are provided within their community.
Healthwatch Leicester enables people to share their views and concerns about their local health and social care services and understand that their contribution will help build a picture of where services are doing well and where they can be improved.
Healthwatch provides people with information about NHS services and their choices. Healthwatch can advise on what to do when things go wrong; this includes either signposting people to the relevant provider’s complaint process, or to an independent advocacy service to support individuals who want to complain about NHS funded services. The aim of Healthwatch is to reduce inequalities in health and social care services with equal access, treatment and outcomes for all communities.
The funding for Healthwatch comes from the Department of Health, which is passed on to Local authorities to commission local Healthwatch.
Healthwatch Leicester is the consumer voice for health and social care and independent of National and Local government, commissioners and providers of health and social care.
Why do hospitals and care providers listen to Healthwatch Leicester?
The Health and Social Care Act 2012 says local Healthwatch has a legal responsibility to report the views of the local community and that government has a responsibility to listen. This is crucial as it means Healthwatch has the power in law to influence local decision-making around health and social care. Healthwatch Leicester signposts people to local health and social care services. They also collect and analyse people’s experience of local care to help shape local services. Healthwatch Leicester feeds views and any recommendations to Healthwatch England to act on at a national level. Together we form the Healthwatch network of 152 Healthwatches.
Healthwatch Leicester will strengthen the collective voice of local people across both health and social care, influencing Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and joint health and wellbeing strategies, on which local commissioning decisions will be based, through its seat on the Leicester Health and Wellbeing Board and observer at the City Clinical Commissioning Group. It will monitor and challenge the commissioning and delivery of health and social care services as the independent consumer champion for the people of Leicester City.