Frequently Asked Questions
What is Healthwatch?
Healthwatch will be the new independent local 'consumer champion' for publicly funded health and social care. It will represent the collective voice of patients, service users, carers and the public in two distinct forms: local Healthwatch and Healthwatch England.
Local Healthwatch organisations are being introduced as part of the changes in the Health and Social Care Bill 2011.
What will happen to LINk?
Local Involvement Networks (LINKs) in their current form will cease to exist and be replaced by Healthwatch in April 2013.
What will Healthwatch do?
Healthwatch will continue and build on the good work of the LINk but take on additional responsibilities. Strengthening the voice of local people across both health and social care giving them real influence at both local and national level.
What are the LINks current functions?
- Promoting community involvement
- Obtaining views from the local community
- Monitoring health and social care services
- Making reports and recommendations
- Carrying out Enter and View visits
What are the additional functions of Healthwatch?
- provide advice to help people to access and make choices about health and social care services.
- provide a complaints advocacy service from 2013 to support people who make a complaint about services.
- report concerns about the quality of health care to Healthwatch England, which can then recommend that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) take action.
- A Local Healthwatch member will sit on the Health and Wellbeing Board (these are set up within each local authority area).
What is Pathfinder Healthwatch?
75 out of approximately 153 LINks were awarded Pathfinder status in 2011. Pathfinders will look at different ways in which to develop into a local Healthwatch. They will get an extra £5000 from the DH via their Local Authority. Pathfinders should also provide opportunities for all LINks to learn about creating a successful Healthwatch.
What will Healthwatch Sutton do?
There will be some mandatory requirements for a local Healthwatch but the final decision on what each Healthwatch will look like will be for the Local Authority to decide in consultation with LINk stakeholders and the community.
What role will Local Authorities have?
Local Authorities (Councils) will have a duty to commission a local Healthwatch in their area to carry out specific duties. They will fund Local Healthwatch in the same way that they have funded LINks.
What will happen to Sutton LINK members?
Healthwatch may have a membership similar to that of the LINk or it may engage generally with the wider community.