How we work
Healthwatch exists to make sure that people are at the heart of health and social care.
There is a local Healthwatch in every area of England. People speak to them about what they think of local services, and Healthwatch then share their views and experiences with those in charge of local care. Healthwatch also share people’s experiences with us at Healthwatch England, so that we can identify issues affecting people across the country and inform changes to services.
How can local Healthwatch help you?
Your local Healthwatch is there to listen to what you like about services and what you think could be improved. No matter how big or small the issue, they want to hear about it.
Where possible, your local Healthwatch will let you know when changes are planned to services in your area and help you have a say. They will also encourage those in charge of local care to involve you when changes are being planned to services.
You can also speak to Healthwatch to find information about health and social care services available locally.
What is Healthwatch England’s role?
We are the independent national champion for people who use health and social care services. We’re here to make sure that those running services, and the government, put people at the heart of care.
We support local Healthwatch to find out what people want and to advocate for services that meet local communities’ needs. Healthwatch around the country act as our eyes and ears on the ground, letting us know how people’s care could be improved.
In addition to sharing what we hear from Healthwatch about people’s views of services, we also encourage those running services to involve people in changes to care.
Our sole purpose is to help make care better for people. We have the power to make sure their voices are heard.
We have a national perspective informed by local insight
Local Healthwatch across the country share with us what people think of services, the issues they’re experiencing, and any areas for improvement. We identify common issues and raise any concerns with people who commission, regulate and provide health and social care services nationally.
We help local Healthwatch inform national change
Our close connections to other health and social care organisations enables us to share with local Healthwatch national data and analysis to inform their work. We also highlight opportunities for Healthwatch to gather people’s views to inform national policy and projects.
We have the power to make people’s voices heard
We have far reaching statutory powers. This means that if we need to raise a concern about an area area of health and social care, we can do so to the Secretary of State for Health, and to sector leaders, such as NHS England, the Care Quality Commission and local authorities in England. Although we cannot make them follow our advice, they are required to respond in writing and on the public record to justify their decision.