Who we are
The Health and Social Care Act of 2012 put people at the centre of their health and social care. To help realise that ambition, a Healthwatch organisation was set up in every local authority area across England. Each one is a key part of its local community, and works in partnership with other organisations in its area. For Healthwatch Somerset, this includes Somerset County Council, the NHS, local hospitals and voluntary organisations.
Healthwatch Somerset is the county’s independent health and care champion. It exists to ensure that people are at the heart of care. We serve the geographical area of Somerset County Council, which includes the districts of Mendip, Sedgemoor, South Somerset and Somerset West and Taunton.
Dedicated teams of staff and volunteers listen to what people like about local health services, and what could be improved. These views are then shared with the decision-making organisations, so together a real difference can be made. Healthwatch Somerset can also help people find the information they need about health and care services in their area.
The Healthwatch Somerset service is run by Evolving Communities CIC, a community interest company limited by guarantee and run by a Board of Directors who are responsible for its strategy and overall management.
About Healthwatch Somerset
Who we are
Healthwatch Somerset is a local independent service which exists to speak up for local people on health and care. Our role is to make sure that the health and care system in Somerset reflects what local people expect and need. We will listen to your opinions and experiences of health and social care services and feedback your views to the people who plan, pay for and deliver health and care services (the commissioners and providers). We can also help you to find the information you need about a local health or care service or point you towards someone who can help you if you need support to raise a concern or make a complaint about a service. We are independent from the NHS, Local Authority and other local health and social care services so people can talk freely about whatever they like.
What we do
Healthwatch Somerset is one of a network of local Healthwatch organisations around the country. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 introduced local Healthwatch as well as Healthwatch England which is the national umbrella body. Together we exist to represent the consumers of health and care services. We serve the geographical area of Somerset County Council, which includes the districts of Mendip, Sedgemoor, South Somerset and Somerset West and Taunton.
Healthwatch Somerset exists to fulfil the statutory functions of a local Healthwatch. These functions can be broken down to:
- Engaging with local people about health and care services and promoting their involvement in all areas.
- Providing an information and signposting service for local people so that they can make choices about health and social care services.
- Monitoring the quality of health and care services.
- Using the voice of local people to influence commissioners and providers.
How we work
Our workstreams are identified, prioritised and reviewed.
Priorities for Healthwatch Somerset are identified in a number of ways:
- Local people are encouraged to identify areas of concern and bring these to the attention of Healthwatch Somerset by telephone, email or letter, or attendance at local events. (Where particular issues are not within Healthwatch Somerset’s remit, people will always be advised on the right agency to contact for help.)
- Partnership working is key to Healthwatch Somerset’s philosophy, so local service user organisations suggest areas of work, and timescales for completion. This avoids duplication of effort.
- Commissioners in both Health and Social Care also assist Healthwatch Somerset in identifying any specific topic related priorities.
- Healthwatch England heads up the nationwide network of Healthwatch organisations and sets out its statutory responsibilities e.g. the right to Enter and View any publicly funded health and social care service. (View a list of the Statutory Duties of a Local Healthwatch)
Read our Healthwatch Decision Making Policy & Procedure about how our annual priorites are agreed and set.
How we are set up
Healthwatch Somerset is an independent service hosted by Evolving Communities CIC, a community interest company (CIC) limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales. Like all limited companies, Evolving Communities CIC is run by a Board of Directors who are responsible for its strategy and overall management.