No. Although Healthwatch England is part of the Care Quality Commission, local Healthwatch organisations have been established as fully independent bodies run by local people, for local people.
Is local Healthwatch accountable to Healthwatch England?
No. Healthwatch Rutland will raise issues of local significance to Healthwatch England for them to use as influencing evidence at government level. Healthwatch Rutland is financially accountable to its commissioners, Rutland County Council; as well as being accountable to its members and the general public of Rutland for its impact as their consumer champion and watchdog of health and social care services.
Local Healthwatch are being described as consumer champions. What impact do you think local Healthwatch will have on local services?
Local people’s voices will go directly into shaping health and social care services in their area. Those services will meet local needs in a much better way, ensuring people are able to get the best out of them. The more people get involved, the more impact the local Healthwatch will have.
How do HWR ensure local people are represented at decision making level?
Healthwatch Rutland have been invited to provide representation on health and care boards such as the Health and Wellbeing Board. We are currently attending well over 30 different committees and boards across Rutland and the region. The purpose of this representation is to make sure the information we are receiving from patients, carers and service users is shared with the people delivering the services and making decisions about future service needs, as well as picking up other important information that will help us influence where services need to change.
How can we feel secure that information we provide is kept confidential?
We have a strict policy that all information given to Healthwatch is treated as confidential. This includes both electronic information and all written correspondence and we are registered under Data Protection. At no point do we sell or share any personal information with anyone unless specifically instructed to do so by the person.
Funding is through the Department of Health from two pots of money. This money is paid locally to Rutland County Council to pay for a Healthwatch service locally (this is a statutory requirement of each local authority in England) and we are accountable financially to Rutland County Council. However, we are independent of Rutland County Council in our activities, recommendations and reports; in that respect we work for the people of Rutland.