A voice for the people of Somerset
People in Somerset will be given a strong voice to air their views on health and care services in the county – thanks to plans by Evolving Communities, the new provider of the local Healthwatch service.
After a recent tender process, Somerset County Council appointed Evolving Communities to provide the local Healthwatch service from 1 October 2017.
Evolving Communities, the parent community interest company of Healthwatch Wiltshire and Healthwatch Gloucestershire, plans to increase opportunities for volunteers, support the introduction of digital technology to help people find information about health and care, and continue to involve local people in shaping their health and care services.
As well as setting up a scheme to involve young people in health issues, Evolving Communities plans to have more of a focus on research and increase collaboration with health and care providers and commissioners.
An office in Somerset will be opened to ensure there is a local presence and the well-known Healthwatch Somerset brand will remain the same. There is an invitation to local people who have been involved in the work of Healthwatch Somerset so far to continue with that involvement.
Chris Graves, Chair of Evolving Communities, explained: “The role of a local Healthwatch is to make sure the health and care system in the area meets the need of the people who use it. We gather feedback from patients and their families on services such as GP surgeries, care homes, hospitals, mental health services and care.
“We then take these findings to the organisations which plan, pay for and deliver health and care services. We have great experience in this area and are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the people of Somerset under this new contract.
“We are looking forward to building on what’s been achieved so far and working with local people on the health and care issues which matter to them the most.”
Cllr David Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care at Somerset County Council, said: “We are pleased to award the Healthwatch contract to Evolving Communities. It is so important that we hear about people’s experiences of health and social care services in Somerset and that feedback is used to make improvements to local services.
“We look forward to working with Evolving Communities and learning from their experience of delivering similar services in other areas. Together we can deliver real change for the people of Somerset.”
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