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HealthWatch Leicestershire

Bulletin 2

“HealthWatch Leicestershire – the LOCAL, independent consumer champion for health and social care.” With less than a year to go before our LINk evolves into HealthWatch Leicestershire we want you to know what is happening. Last year the Government published its White Paper on the NHS reforms ‘Equity and Excellence’ with its promise of a new and forward-looking NHS in which patients come first and are listened to –

‘no decision about me without me.’ Source: The King’s Fund

It included ideas for the new national HealthWatch England (to give an independent national voice for patients and the public) and a local HealthWatch to be the independent champion for users of health and social care in counties and cities across England. Meanwhile, the Health and Social Care Bill is still being debated in Parliament. It sets out the framework for HealthWatch but there is not yet much detail on how it will work. We try to keep up to date so that our HealthWatch Implementation Group can understand and plan for Leicestershire to have an effective HealthWatch. There will be a HealthWatch for Leicester City and one for Rutland and all will be expected to work together in the interest of patients and the public.

Leicestershire LINk – HealthWatch Bulletin 2 December 2011

Read on to find out more about:    

What HealthWatch Leicestershire will do HealthWatch England How it will be funded What you can do!


HealthWatch Leicestershire

Bulletin 2

What will HealthWatch Leicestershire do? Local HealthWatch will retain all involvement and scrutiny functions of the LINk, including: o o o o o

promoting involvement of patients and the public obtaining their views monitoring health and care services making reports and recommendations carrying out Enter & View visits to all publically funded health and social care services

and the new duties set out in the Health and Social Care Bill including: o enable people in local communities to have a greater say in decisions about services o be the independent proactive consumer champion for the public o provide intelligence - including evidence from people's views and experiences o provide information and advice to help people understand the choices in health and care services available to them o provide access to independent complaints advocacy to support people if they need help to complain about NHS services. o ensure that the views and feedback from patients and carers are an integral part of local commissioning across health and social care o give patients and carers a real say over how their local health and care services work (representing them in the County Health and Wellbeing Board) and recommend that poor services are investigated. o be proactive in all this, not just reacting to problems o work collaboratively with other HealthWatches to share good practice o be seen to be accountable to the people it serves in its local communities, to HealthWatch England and to Leicestershire County Council they commission and fund it.

Leicestershire LINk – HealthWatch Bulletin 2 December 2011

Who will set it up? The County Council will commission (pay for) HealthWatch Leicestershire with money given by the Government for this purpose. Unlike the LINk, HealthWatch Leicestershire will be a formally established corporate body (a legally authorised organisation) and it may be a new organisation, a company, a charity, or an existing voluntary body. The LINk has told the County Council that it would prefer it to commission HealthWatch Leicestershire (HWL) from an existing voluntary organisation representative of every aspect of the people of Leicestershire, just as the LINk has tried to be. We hope to hear soon what they have decided.

How will it be funded? The County Council receives grants from the Department of Health. Because the grants are not ‘ring-fenced’ the Council decides the amounts allocated to HWL. We are pressing the County Council to provide the money needed to implement the vision of the White Paper for our HealthWatch.

When will it happen?


HealthWatch Leicestershire

Bulletin 2

What will HealthWatch England do? The Government will set up HealthWatch England to represent the views of patients and the public at a national level. This is an important development because by bringing together the information, experience, ideas and work of all the local HealthWatches, HealthWatch England will be able to influence all the top level decision makers in health and social care. HealthWatch Leicestershire will provide information for HealthWatch England and look to it for advice, service standards, support and ways of sharing ideas. The County Council will also be advised by HealthWatch England. Sadly it will not be established until October 2012 – too late to influence the establishment of Local HealthWatches.

When will we know? When the Bill receives Royal Assent (by the spring of 2012) we shall have a better idea of ‘who, what and how.’

Leicestershire LINk is a pathfinder – so what’s been happening? As you will be aware we achieved pathfinder status in August 2011 and have been working and testing three areas to feedback to the Department of Health in April 2012, and to share the learning with other Pathfinders and LINks. Please find a short update on how we’ve been progressing on each area.

Leicestershire LINk – HealthWatch Bulletin 2 December 2011

Pathfinder Focus area 1: Signposting This group is exploring and developing the important role that HealthWatch will play in signposting. This is new, and will help people find the information they need about providers of health and social care services. This work has involved the expertise of some of the major providers of information and advice in Leicestershire. We are now at the point of deciding on some proposals for signposting models, which we will be asking your views about, so look out for future events.

Pathfinder Focus area 2: Organisation Transformation The LINk and the County Council have developed a HealthWatch Leicestershire Implementation Plan, so we can really start moving forward to become a fit for purpose HealthWatch. We believe it is really important that our LINk Board, LINk members, members of the public and our wider partners have a greater understanding of what HealthWatch is and where it will be in the future. Plans are underway to set this in motion, starting with a number of Board Development Sessions, a State of Readiness LINk Board review and planning day, visits to local voluntary and community groups and much more.

Pathfinder Focus area 3: Engagement with Hard to Reach and Seldom Heard Groups The LINk and many health and social care partners have agreed to use this opportunity to work with some isolated rural communities and young people to find out how they would like to feed their views into HealthWatch in the future. This detailed work will feed into planning and will shape future services locally.


HealthWatch Leicestershire

Bulletin 2

What can YOU do? o If you are a LINk member – read up on HealthWatch - we’ve put a lot of the information on our website, think about how we can do our existing work better and smarter, what the new tasks will mean and join the online HealthWatch community – it is free. To register, send an email to healthwatch@nunwood.com. If you belong to other organisations please show them this Bulletin and urge them to get involved with us and the County Council in creating HealthWatch Leicestershire. o If you are a member of a voluntary organisation – please urge them to join us and the County Council in making HealthWatch Leicestershire a really representative organisation. o If you work in the NHS and social care - in hospitals, care homes, PCTs, Clinical Commissioning Groups, GP practices and in the community - get in touch with us to find out how we can work together. o If this is the first you have heard of the LINk or HealthWatch get in touch with us – we want everyone’s ideas and support.

More information will be published as we move forward to evolve into HealthWatch Leicestershire.

Contact Us

Copyright © Leicestershire LINk 2011

Freepost RSCK-LBKH-UBGL Leicestershire LINk Leicester LE4 1HB Tel: 0116 229 3103 Email: info@leicestershirelink.org.uk Website: www.leicestershirelink.org.uk

Leicestershire LINk – HealthWatch Bulletin 2 December 2011

Healthwatch Leicestershire - Bulletin 2  

“HealthWatch Leicestershire – the LOCAL, independent consumer champion for health and social care.”