Agenda item

Healthwatch and Citizen Voice


The Board gave consideration to a report which provided an overview of the main roles and responsibilities of Healthwatch.  The role of Healthwatch Oldham was to provide an independent consumer voice for Oldham residents who used the NHS and social care services.  Healthwatch Oldham needed to review the impact of its service and the way it worked in light of service redesign at both a local and GM level.  The report set out the key challenges Healthwatch Oldham needed to address in the coming and how these would impact on partners.  The report also sought feedback on a proposed programme of Healthwatch Service reviews. 


The planned reviews between September 2018 to July 2019 were:


·         Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

·         Experience of Carers during hospital discharge

·         ‘End of Life’ care and choice

·         Oldham Neighbourhood and GP Clusters

·         Youth People’s Health Services

·         Review of Care Home Provision

·         Discharge to Assess and Intermediate Care

·         Accessible services for the Deaf Community and People with Sight Loss

·         Experiences of refugees and asylum seekers accessing primary and acute healthcare


The Board was requested to recommend five review areas.


The vision for Healthwatch Oldham was to provide an independent voice and source of information and influence for the residents of Oldham.  It did this by listening, engaging and involving people in matters of health and social care to bring about service improvement and reduce health inequalities in an open, honest, transparent, confidential and approachable manner. 


Healthwatch Oldham was established in 2012 with a number of statutory and discretionary functions which provided insight, information, influence and the NHS Complaints Advocacy Service.  The service was delivered through a combination of forums or themed engagement events; information outreach services; one to one casework interviews; membership on decision making bodies; statutory enter and view functions; detailed service user reviews; engagement network and e-bulletins and working in partnership with voluntary, community and statutory sector services.


Healthwatch currently faced the following challenges:


·         Ability to influence health and social care services; and

·         Public and patient voice.


The Board were informed that many organisations had not heard of Healthwatch or had a mixed understanding of what its role was.  Service reviews identified two things, where things had gone well and where improvements were needed.  In other areas in Greater Manchester, Healthwatch outcomes were challenged but could not force the provider to enact recommendations.  It was hoped to create a more systematic approach to the way reviews were undertaken, identify issues that would be in the public interest and JSNA would assist in this area.


Members raised the role of Healthwatch in educating the public and any meaningful data which would provide meaningful data and a good source of intelligence for inform discussions.  Discussions with the Alliance Board would also be a useful tool.   


Healthwatch were keen to work closely with GPs to raise their profile.  In terms of safeguarding, the role of Healthwatch could not be underestimated in holding partners to account.  The link to Northern Alliance issues was discussed.




1.         The report on the Healthwatch Oldham Work Programme be noted.

2.         The following five areas were recommended for the Healthwatch to focus on:

·                     ‘End of Life’ Care and Choice

·                     Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

·                     Review of Care Home Provision

·                     Discharge to Assess and Intermediate Care

·                     Experiences of Refugees and Asylum Seekers accessing primary and acute healthcare services

3.         The findings and recommendations from the 5 review areas be brought back to a future meeting.


Supporting documents: