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We are here to listen but if you have a question that you think other people have already asked, have a look here first…

What is Healthwatch Leicester?

Healthwatch is the consumer champion for Health and Social Care. A local Healthwatch is an independent organisation, able to employ its own staff and involve volunteers, so it can become the influential and effective voice of the public. It keeps accounts and makes its annual reports available to the public. It replaced LINKs (Local Involvement NetworK), has taken over their responsibilities  and has implemented additional services around advice and guidance.

The aim of local Healthwatch is to give citizens and communities a stronger voice to influence and challenge how health and social care services are provided within their community.

What is Healthwatch for?

Healthwatch Leicester enables people to share their views and  concerns about their local health and social care services and understand that their contribution will help build a picture of where services are doing well and where they can be improved.

Healthwatch provides people with information about NHS services and their choices. Healthwatch can  advise on what to do when things go wrong; this includes either signposting people to the relevant provider’s complaint process, or to an independent advocacy service to support individuals who want to complain about NHS funded services. The aim of Healthwatch is to reduce inequalities in health and social care services with equal access, treatment and outcomes for all communities.                     

Who funds Healthwatch Leicester?

The funding for Healthwatch comes from the Department of Health, which is passed on to Local authorities to commission local Healthwatch.

How can it be an independent watchdog if the funding comes from the government?

Healthwatch Leicester is the consumer voice for health and social care and independent of National and Local government, commissioners and providers of health and social care.

Who can be a member of Healthwatch Leicester?

Anyone who has an interest in health and social care and lives in Leicester City, and who wants to make sure the needs of their community are recognised, can join and become involved.

What’s in it for me if I become a member?

Becoming a member of Healthwatch Leicester means having a stronger voice to influence and challenge how health and social care services are provided locally.

Our members are kept up to date with the latest health and social care news, events and consultations as well as representing local people at health and social care meetings.

Depending on the level of membership you choose, Healthwatch Leicester members are able to:

  • receive information about health and social care services, events and activities
  • give views and opinions on health and social care services
  • raise awareness of Healthwatch Leicester in the local area
  • represent the public voice on boards and at meetings
  • enter and view health and social care services

Why do we need Healthwatch Leicester when there is already a Leicester Mercury Patients Panel?

The Leicester Mercury Patients Panel is a group of individuals who have a keen interest in improving local health services across Leicester/Leicestershire. Panel members are able to state points of view and opinions that may be personal views, or may not be representative of local people.

Healthwatch is an independent consumer champion with statutory powers and represents the public voice. It is completely separate from those providing the service, which means we can be completely honest about your opinions.

Why would hospitals or care providers take any notice of Healthwatch Leicester?

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 says local Healthwatch has a legal responsibility to report the views of the local community and that government has a responsibility to listen. This is crucial as it means Healthwatch has the power in law to influence local decision-making around health and social care.  Healthwatch Leicester signposts people to local health and social care services. They also collect and analyse the experiences that people have of local care to help shape local services. Healthwatch Leicester feeds views and any recommendations to Healthwatch England to act on at a national level. Together we form the Healthwatch network of 152 Healthwatches.

Healthwatch Leicester will strengthen the collective voice of local people across both health and social care, influencing Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and joint health and wellbeing strategies, on which local commissioning decisions will be based, through its seat on the Leicester Health and Wellbeing Board and observer at the City Clinical Commissioning Group.  It will monitor and challenge the commissioning and delivery of health and social care services as the independent consumer champion for the people of Leicester City.

How will you measure your success over time?         

Local Healthwatch is accountable to the people it serves, it’s commissioners and to stakeholders. We will publish a report of our work and activities on an annual basis for the Commissioners and hold events where members and the public can provide feedback.

What can Healthwatch Leicester do if a health or care provider ignores you?

As an organsiation with statutory powers, Healthwatch Leicester can challenge both health and social care providers who are subject to the statutory 20-day response and therefore cannot ignore any challenge or scrutiny by Healthwatch. We will report concerns about the quality of health care to Healthwatch England, our national body who can then recommend that the Care Quality Commission to take action.