The Health and Social Care Act 2012 introduced a new independent consumer champion for health and social care, Healthwatch.
Healthwatch operates at two levels to ensure that the consumer voice has influence not only locally but nationally too:
- Healthwatch England - a committee within the Care Quality Commission which supports and leads Local Healthwatch;
- Local Healthwatch - provides a single point of contact for people to report their experiences, concerns or their compliments about health and social care.
Local councils have the responsibility to make sure their area has a Local Healthwatch organisation.
Local Healthwatch has three main roles:
1. Influencing - presenting the views and experiences of local service users to local managers and decision makers (as well as to Healthwatch England at the national level) and be part of the decision making process on the local health and wellbeing board. It will also hold local providers to account by reporting on services and making recommendations.
2. Signposting - providing information to people to help them access health and social care services and make decisions about their care.
3. NHS complaints advocacy - providing advocacy for individuals making complaints about healthcare.
The diagram below shows the role of Local Healthwatch.
In January 2013 after a comprehensive evaluation process the contracts to deliver the local Healthwatch functions were awarded to the following organisations:
- Healthwatch North Yorkshire (influencing and signposting) - North Bank Forum.
- NHS Complaints Advocacy (advisory) - Cloverleaf Advocacy 2000 Ltd.
North Yorkshire NHS Complaints Advocacy Service
Telephone: 0300 012 4212
Visit the website: www.helpwithnhscomplaintsnorthyorks.org/