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Healthwatch: championing patient voices across BLMK

Who are Healthwatch?

There are four local Healthwatch hubs across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes. They are:

Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire
Healthwatch Bedford Borough
Healthwatch Luton
Healthwatch Milton Keynes

Each local Healthwatch is a statutory body, set up in April 2013 as a requirement of the Health and Social Care Act of 2012.

The local Healthwatch network covers all 152 local authorities in England. Healthwatch works closely with the national body, Healthwatch England.

What do Healthwatch do?

Healthwatch are the independent champion for people who use health and social care services. They make sure that those who run the services put people at the heart of care. Healthwatch have a statutory role to represent the views of patients and this gives them the power to make your voices heard.

The sole purpose of Healthwatch is to understand the needs, experiences and concerns of people who use health and social care services and to speak out on their behalf.

  • Healthwatch are here to listen to what you like about services and what you think could be improved.
  • They write reports based on your experiences with recommendations of how services can be improved.
  • They distribute those reports to Healthwatch England, the Care Quality Commission, and the people who pay for and provide local services.
  • Healthwatch represent patients and local communities at meetings, and on boards where decisions about NHS and social care are made.
  • Healthwatch regularly brings the patient and public voice to the CCGs, including at our Governing Body meetings and Quality Committee. We also have Healthwatch representatives on Our Patient and Public Engagement Joint Committee.
  • Whenever possible, Healthwatch will let people know when changes are planned to services in our community and help you have a say on the future of those services. They also encourage those in charge of local care to involve you when changes are being planned to services.
  • Healthwatch provide advice, signposting and support about the health and social care services available locally.

Want to know more?

To find out more, or to share your own experiences – good and bad – of local health and social care services, contact your local Healthwatch.