What we do
Healthwatch Somerset exists to speak up for local people on health and social care, to make sure that services in the county reflect the needs of the people and communities they serve. We are independent from the NHS, Local Authority and other local health and social care services, so people can talk to us confidently and freely about their views and experiences.
Our work, which fulfils the statutory functions of a local Healthwatch, falls into four main areas:
Engaging with local people and communities about health and social care and promoting their involvement to develop and improve services.
Enter & View
Monitoring the quality of health and care services.
Advice & information
Providing information and advice for local people so that they can make informed choices about health and social care services.
Reporting & influencing change
Using the voice of local people to influence commissioners and providers to make health and social care better for local communities.
How annual work plan priorities for Healthwatch are identified:
Our approach to priority setting is one which recognises that Healthwatch sits inside the health and care system.
Local people are encouraged to identify areas of concern and bring these to the attention of Healthwatch by telephone, email or letter, or attendance at local events. Where particular issues are not within Healthwatch remit, people are always advised on the right agency to contact for help. Local people can also complete an annual survey promoted across the county through existing contacts and networks to find out what they think is important.
Partnership working is key to Healthwatch philosophy, so local service user organisations suggest areas of work, and timescales for completion. This avoids duplication of effort.
The Healthwatch Local Board, volunteers, and staff will be involved with consultation and planning workshops so that analysis of data collected throughout the year as part of ongoing engagement activity is achieved.
Commissioners in both health and social care also assist Healthwatch in identifying any specific topic related priorities. We also take consideration of existing local needs assessments (for example Joint Strategic Assessment). An ongoing dialogue with stakeholders through forums including the Health and Wellbeing Board, Health and Care Scrutiny Committees, Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body and voluntary sector groups and forums etc. is key to identifying ‘system’ priorities.
How we work
Read about what methods we use to collect and process data for our work and the reasoning behind it.
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