Healthwatch England is the national consumer champion in health and care. We have significant statutory powers to ensure the voice of the consumer is strengthened and heard by those who commission, deliver and regulate health and care services. We offer a free and independent service
The Healthwatch network is made of up of local Healthwatch across each of the 152 local authority areas and Healthwatch England, the national body.
Healthwatch has a common purpose – to ensure the voices of people who use services are listened to and responded to. The network shares a brand, has common values and comes together to work on priority areas and campaigns.
Local Healthwatch across England provide unique insight into people’s experiences of health and social care issues across the country; they are the eyes and ears on the ground telling us what matters to their local communities.
We have a national perspective fed by local insight
Local Healthwatch across the country provide the local evidence and insight that enables us to build up a bigger national picture by identifying patterns and emerging issues. We use this intelligence to inform our national work, and with the backing of legal powers, raise those concerns with people who commission, regulate and provide health and social care services nationally.
We also use national insight to have local impact
We collect and analyse data and information from national players to identify issues and then share this with local Healthwatch so they can use this analysis in their work with local communities.
We have strong statutory powers
We have far reaching statutory powers that extend over key players such as NHS England, the Care Quality Commission, Monitor and each local authority in England. In addition to this formidable group of organisations, we have ultimate recourse to advise the Secretary of State for Health. While we cannot make organisations act on our advice, they must respond in writing and on the public record to justify their decision.
The role of local Healthwatch
Locally, Healthwatch voices people’s concerns and provides feedback to service providers and commissioners. Through local engagement they collect vital data on how and why people use services in their area. Its place on the Health and Wellbeing Board means local Healthwatch can represent the voice of people in decision making. Local Healthwatch directly supports people in their community by giving them information or signposting them to the local services they need.
Local Healthwatch are independent organisations dealing with local concerns and they are commissioned directly by local authorities, so we at Healthwatch England do not manage their performance. Rather, we work with the network, providing leadership and support as each local Healthwatch builds its profile and impact on local services. Healthwatch England promotes standards and good practice, provides materials, toolkits, information, training and one-to-one support.
A big part of our work is to make the most of the resources, skills and expertise across the entire network, by learning from local Healthwatch, and by helping to provide the tools and opportunities for network members to connect and share expertise, to make a more powerful difference locally. At a national level, we make the case for the resources and the powers that local Healthwatch need to do the ambitious job they have been given.
What we do
Healthwatch is unique in that our sole purpose is to understand the needs, experiences and concerns of people who use health and social care services and to speak out on their behalf.
Healthwatch West Sussex Independent Health Complaints Advocacy Service (IHCAS)
Telephone: 0300 012 0122
Address: The Billingshurst Community Centre, Roman Way, Billingshurst, West Sussex RH14 9QW