Getting ready for HealthWatch England
The Health and Social Care Bill received Royal Assent on 27 March 2012.
There were several changes made to Local Healthwatch during the amendment stage, including:
• Local Healthwatch is now a non-statutory body with statutory powers
• The local authority can only contract one organisation for Local Healthwatch, who can then subcontract
• It has to be a social enterprise, although subcontractors don’t have to be
• There is no requirement to have members for Local Healthwatch, although it will be expected to be representative of the community
• Healthwatch England will grant Local Healthwatch a licence authorising the use of registered trademarks and branding.
• Healthwatch England will have a duty to respond to Local Healthwatch
• Staff can be TUPE’d over to Local Healthwatch
• LINk assets can be transferred to Local Healthwatch.
Regulations will cover the way that the Local Authority and Local Healthwatch manage their relationship and will cover the way that Local Healthwatch carries out its work.
Consultation on regulations is expected to take place in April and May 2012.
provided by Preeya Madhoo, Medway Council
The Health and Social Care Act was passed to law on 27 March 2012.
The Act has confirmed the role of Healthwatch on the Health and Wellbeing Board and Healthwatch as the strengthened voice of the community.
The principle in the Health and Social Care Act, “no decision about me without me”, sets out the intention to put the Medway public, patients and users of services at the heart of the commissioning and provision of health and social care services.
Consultation on what Healthwatch will be in Medway has begun with community events, the first being a LINk event on 1 March 2012.
The Local Authority has commissioned the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS) to produce a report for the specification of Healthwatch, based on the views gained at the workshops.
Smaller workshops with the hard to reach community will be taking place in April and May 2012.
The report from the CfPS will be available in May 2012.
To keep up to date with the progress of the work of Healthwatch in Medway or to give your views on how to ensure Healthwatch reaches as many people in the community as possible, write to Healthwatch, Level 5, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, ME3 8GE, email or visit the website.
November sees a major step in the setting up of HealthWatch England, with the start of the recruitment of its Chair who is expected to take up the post in April 2012.
The Chair will voice the views of people who use health and social care services to those responsible for services locally and nationally and be able to use those views to influence national policy.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has also set out other important landmarks in the development of HealthWatch England including:
• appointing staff – senior staff to be in place by June 2012
• developing information and briefings for Local HealthWatch organisations – by June 2012
• developing a work plan for the new organisation – by summer 2012
• agreeing the budget with the Department of Health – by summer 2012
• agreeing how the relationship between HealthWatch England and the CQC will work – by summer 2012
• agreeing the composition of and appointing the HealthWatch England committee – the committee will take up its role in October 2012
• developing the HealthWatch England website – to launch in October 2012.
While these developments are taking place, CQC and the Department of Health will be talking to a wide range of organisations and individuals with an interest in HealthWatch and helping local HealthWatch organisations to develop.
For further information, contact the CQC press office by telephone 0207 448 9401 or visit the website