Each year we publish ‘State of Support’, a report that sets out the funding local Healthwatch have received from local authorities.
What is the job of local Healthwatch?
Across England, there are 152 local Healthwatch. Their job is to find out about your experiences of health and care, provide information about local services and make sure everyone’s views are heard by those with the power to make services better.
Last year, 341,000 people spoke to local Healthwatch about their experiences of using health and social care services and 176,000 people contacted them for information and advice. Local Healthwatch also published 1,745 reports about what people like about health and social care services and what could be improved.
How much funding have local Healthwatch received?
Central Government provides funding to local authorities to enable them to carry out their work.
For 2017/18, local Healthwatch have told us they have received £27,395,178 in funding from local authorities.
Has funding gone up or down?
Our analysis indicates that between 2016/17 and 2017/18 overall funding for local Healthwatch has gone down by 6.9%. This follows a 5.9% reduction in funding between 2015/16 and 2016/17.
Six in ten local Healthwatch have told us that their funding has stayed the same or changed by less than £5,000. However, 47 local Healthwatch have reported more significant cuts in their funding for 2017/18, with an average reduction of 17%.
There has been a 6.9% reduction in funding compared to the year before, and a 37% fall since the Government’s original allocation in 2013.
What do we do with these figures?
Healthwatch make sure that people’s views are heard by health and social care services. Their work has resulted in positive changes to services across England, from improving the quality of residential care in Isle of Wight to encouraging GP surgeries in West Sussex to become more autism-friendly.
Although there are pressures for many public services, we believe it’s vital that councils provide enough funding for local Healthwatch services, so that communities can have their say on health and social care issues and get information about local services.
To help make sure this happens, we have written to the Secretary of State for Health with a copy of the report and outlined our concerns and recommendations.
We will also monitor the funding provided by local authorities for their local Healthwatch service and will write to local authorities when we have concerns that there is not sufficient funding for a local Healthwatch to carry out its statutory activities.