Healthwatch gets the go ahead!
“When people are involved in making the decisions which affect their lives their self esteem and confidence rise, in turn improving their health and well being…Real change can come only from the local community itself by harnessing the energy, skills and commitment of local people in setting clear objectives for change and forming new partnerships for action.”
Since “Saving Lives – Our Healthier Nation” was published by the Department of Health in 1999, successive research has shown that where people – whether they have a direct interest, either as a provider, commissioner, community group, carer, local resident or if they use the services themselves- are collectively involved in planning services at all levels of decision making, then better health outcomes will be achieved for the person at the centre of it all-
On March 27th 2012 the Health and Social Care bill received the Royal Assent to become the Health and Social Care Act 2012. What remains now is for legislation to be translated into more policy guidance at local level. Andrew Lansley has pledged the NHS will be clinically driven, which means every action taken will need to be evidenced by better health results for people.
Of particular interest to our network will be the newly strengthened role of patient and public involvement in all publicly funded health and social care. New clauses in the legislation require the NHS Commissioning Board and Clinical Commissioning Groups to promote involvement of each patient and their carers and representatives (if any), in decisions which relate to the prevention or diagnosis of illness in the patients, or their care or treatment.
This is in addition to the remit of Healthwatch which is expanded from the current LINk requirement. Amplifying the voice of patients and users of social care, Healthwatch will be the mainstay of checks and balances enabling people across the county to hold services to account via the new Joint Health and Well Being Boards.
NHS “arms length bodies” will form part of the system of checks and balances over publicly funded healthcare. The Care Quality Commission will continue to regulate all licensed providers.
Local Healthwatch organisations will subsume LINk functions with additional requirements to enable people to exercise choice and control through advice and information re service provision and availability. In April 2013, the Local Authority will also be required to commission a local service for NHS complaints advocacy.