We are here to listen but if you have a question that you think other people have already asked, have a look here first.
Please click on the headings, to expand and read the answers!
Why has Healthwatch been set up?
Healthwatch has been set up as the new independent consumer champion for health and social care in England. The NHS and social care services are going through a dramatic time of change, but we know that not all voices are being heard and that people can be unaware of the care and support that is out there. Healthwatch is about local voices improving local health and social care services and helping you get the best out of those services. We’ll be out in the community talking and listening to people, and we’ll tell services about your experiences of care and hold them to account. Healthwatch has been set up in two distinct forms – local Healthwatch, at local level, and Healthwatch England, at national level. For more information on what Healthwatch will do, visit the About us page.
What’s the Sharing of NHS Patient Information all about?
Did you receive a leaflet about the plan to share your medical records?
Do you understand what is being proposed?
The government’s data-sharing programme for the National Health Service (NHS), is called care.data. Care.data is a new programme where information on GP records will be shared with the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). The data being shared by care.data is substantial. It includes mental health data, diagnoses, medications and laboratory results.GP surgeries by law would have to allow the transfer of patient records (data) to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). The aim is to help the NHS plan and improve patient care for the whole country.
This video below from NHS England provides some background information explaining what data will be shared and why.
What choices do I have about my NHS care and treatment?
Do you know about the choices you have about your NHS care and treatment?
This guidance from NHS England explains when you have choices about your health care, where to get more information to help you choose, how to complain if you are not offered a choice.
What is Healthwatch England?
Healthwatch England has been set up to give a national voice to the key issues that affect people who use health and social care services. It has been established as a statutory committee of the CQC. The main functions of Healthwatch England are:
- to provide national leadership, guidance and support by way of advice and assistance to local Healthwatch organisations.
- to be able to escalate concerns about health and social care services raised by local Healthwatch, users of services, and members of the public to CQC.
- to provide advice and information to the Secretary of State, NHS Commissioning Board, Monitor and local authorities.
How will Healthwatch Hillingdon be run?
Healthwatch Hillingdon is an independent organisation carrying out statutory functions. We are independent, with our own board of directors recruited from the local community, who are responsible for the overall running of the organisation.
Healthwatch Hillingdon will have an open and transparent structure for making decisions and enabling local people to influence what it does, such as its work programme and use of legal powers. It will publish accounts and an annual report.
Who is Healthwatch Hillingdon accountable to?
Healthwatch Hillingdon is part of the community and is accountable to local people, and to Hillingdon Council as commissioners of the service.
Healthwatch Hillingdon is independent and is not part of the NHS or the local authority.
What has happened to LINks (Local Involvement Networks)?
Healthwatch has been set up to replace LINks, which finished work on 31 March 2013. Hillingdon LINk’s legacy of work has been passed on to Healthwatch Hillingdon, which will continue to monitor progress with recommendations made in LINk reports.
I was a member of Hillingdon LINk. What has happened to my membership?
We hope all LINk members will remain involved in Healthwatch. Healthwatch Hillingdon has retained the database of LINk members and will use this to keep LINk members informed of the work of Healthwatch Hillingdon and ensure that they have opportunities to be involved in the new organisation. This information is being stored securely in line with data protection regulations.
If you would prefer for your details to be deleted and not to be contacted about Healthwatch please contact us.
How can I be kept informed of Healthwatch Hillingdon’s work?
The best way is to leave your details here, give us a call or pop into our shop in the Pavillions Shopping Centre in Uxbridge (we are next to Iceland) – this ensures that you will receive our newsletters, updates and event invitations. If you would like to get more involved by volunteering with Healthwatch please visit our Volunteer page.
If you were a Hillingdon LINk member and did not opt into receiving information youwill not y receive updates from us. If you would like us to change this, please contact us.
What powers does Healthwatch have?
We have a number of powers and monitiring tools we use, Enter and View and PLACE Assements. PLACE (Patient Led Assessment of the Care Environment) are carried out by our trained volunteers. Inspections are carried out annually in a number of care environment settings such as the local hospitals. The comments and observations we make are recorded and the care provider is required to timetable and implement the findings.
Enter and View inspections are only carried out when members of the public have raised concerns about a care provider (eg a care home providor). In this case trained volunteers will go in and inspect a premises and speak to residents or those in receipt of care. If as a result we remain concerned, we can pass this onto the Care Quality Commission who will take matters further.