Following a number of scandals in health and social care, such as Stafford and Winterbourne View, recommendations were made at Government level to reform health and social care. The health and social care reforms of 2012 set a powerful ambition of putting people at the centre of health and social care. To help realise that ambition, the reforms created a Healthwatch in every local authority area across England and Healthwatch England, the national body. The network is strongest working together to share information, expertise and learning in order to improve health and social care services.
Healthwatch England has far reaching statutory powers that extend over key players such as NHS England, the Care Quality Commission, Monitor and each local authority in England. In addition to this formidable group of organisations, they have ultimate recourse to advise the Secretary of State for Health. While they cannot make organisations act on our advice, they must respond in writing and on the public record to justify their decision.
Healthwatch England is the national body that supports 152 local Healthwatches across the country. Find out more about them here (link http://www.healthwatch.co.uk/ )