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Health watchdog service to be reshaped

A service that champions people’s health rights is being reshaped to ensure it continues to makes a real difference to the future of health and care.

Current provider Engaging Communities Staffordshire has been reappointed after submitting a strong proposal for the future of the service which encourages people to have their say on all aspects of the NHS and social care.

The reshaped service will play a key role in joining up existing services by working with partner champion organisations across health, care and the voluntary sector and using the information it gathers to shape health and care services that matter most to the people of Staffordshire.

Councils are legally required to provide an independent Healthwatch service to ensure local people’s voices are heard when it comes to health and care matters, and that their views and experiences are used to improve services.

County Councillor Alan White, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing said:

“Making sure people in Staffordshire have a voice in helping shape health and care services in Staffordshire is a key priority for the county council.  As the contact for Healthwatch was up for renewal, we took the opportunity to reshape the service and look at what worked well, and what could be done differently.

“Engaging Communities Staffordshire put forward a strong proposal of how they can support residents not only to have a say, but actually help shape the future of health and care in Staffordshire. The appointment of ECS will also allow continuity while we work with them and their network of champions to shape the new Healthwatch offering over the coming weeks.

“With less money to go around, we have to make sure we are focusing on what’s important to Staffordshire people.  We are committed to ensuring there is an effective local Healthwatch service that, coupled with the Health and Wellbeing Board and our own Healthy Staffordshire Select Committee, scrutinises local health services, helps people give their views on social care and health, and ensures they are heard by decision makers.”

The new service is expected to go live in April 2018.