The new patients’ rights group is called Healthwatch. The Department of Health has produced a document to explain the Government’s vision for local Healthwatch. This document is for everyone with an interest in local Healthwatch organisations across the NHS and social care system (which will include local authorities, local involvement networks, emerging health and wellbeing boards and the voluntary and community sectors).
The briefing “Local Healthwatch: a strong voice for people – the policy explained” describes the policy for Healthwatch, explaining the role of local Healthwatch, its functions, responsibilities, roles and relationships in the new health and care system.
Healthwatch England will be established by October 2012 and local Healthwatch organisations will start in April 2013.
David Behan, Director General for Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships, has written to local authority chief executives to clarify their statutory duty to commission effective and efficient local Healthwatch organisations.