Healthwatch England operates on both a national and local level to ensure that the views of the public and people who use the services are taken into account. It is not a regulatory body such as the Care Quality Commission and does not have direct responsibility to change practices. It does, however, have a statutory remit to collate evidence of service delivery standards nationally, and to ensure the regulators, other arms length bodies, and government departments, respond accordingly.
There is a local Healthwatch organisation in every local authority area in England. They will take the experiences people have of local care and use them to help shape local services.
Through the Healthwatch network, Healthwatch England will ensure the voices of people who use health and social care services are heard by the Secretary of State, the Care Quality Commission, Monitor, and every Local Authority in England. Healthwatch England provides leadership, support and advice to local Healthwatch organisations so they can become strong ambassadors for local people. They will gather and analyse information provided by local Healthwatch organisations and others to identify key issues and trends.
Local Healthwatch organisations :
- have the power to enter and view services
- influence how services are set up and commissioned by having a seat on the local health and wellbeing board
- produce reports which influence the way services are designed and delivered
- provide information, advice and support about local services
- pass information and recommendations to Healthwatch England and the Care Quality Commission
Patient Participation Groups
There is a contractual requirement for all practices to have in place and maintain a Patent Participation Group, comprising of members from its registered population. The PPG should:
- gather the views of patients about the practice.
- gather feedback about the practices services.
The practice must make reasonable efforts to make sure the PPG is representative of its population. The practice must regularly engage with the PPG to gather feedback and review that feedback.
The Patients Association has a PPG information and support pack available on the NHS England Website: Guidance for Starting a Patient Participation Group
Other useful information can be obtained from: