Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is Healthwatch Bolton part of the NHS?
  2. What is Healthwatch Bolton and Healthwatch England?
  3. What does Healthwatch Bolton do?
  4. Why was Healthwatch England and Healthwatch Bolton set up?
  5. What power does Healthwatch have to improve poor practice?
  6. What’s the relationship between local Healthwatch and Healthwatch England?
  7. Is Healthwatch England completely independent?
  8. Are local Healthwatch organisations accountable to Healthwatch England?
  9. Is local Healthwatch accountable to Healthwatch England?

 

1. Is Healthwatch Bolton part of the NHS?

  • No each local Healthwatch is part of its local community and works in partnership with other local organisations.

2. What is Healthwatch Bolton and Healthwatch England?

  • Healthwatch Bolton is a local independent champion for consumers and users of health and social care in England.
  • Healthwatch England provides leadership, support and advice to the wider Healthwatch network which is made up of 152 local Healthwatch organisations of which Healthwatch Bolton is one.
  • Healthwatch Bolton has powers to ensure the consumers’ voice is heard by those who make the decisions. We tell NHS commissioners, NHS providers, and local authorities in England about our findings. Healthwatch England and Healthwatch Bolton can also ask the health and social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission, to take action when we have special concerns.

3. What does Healthwatch Bolton do?

  • Healthwatch Bolton gathers evidence to identify national consumer trends and issues in health and social care. It uses this evidence to influence national and local policy.

4. Why was Healthwatch England and Healthwatch Bolton set up?

  • Healthwatch was set up to make sure the views and experiences of consumers across the country are heard clearly by those who plan and run health and social care services.
  • By making sure the consumer’s voice is heard we can help make services better.

5. What power does Healthwatch have to improve poor practice?

  • Healthwatch does not have direct power to change practice. The organisation gathers and presents evidence of shortfalls and issues in health and social care services to regulators, other arms-length bodies, and government departments. They are obliged to respond to us and we will always make that response public.
  • By law the organisations who plan, run and regulate health and social care services have to listen to what we have to say. When we’re made aware of failing services, we will report them to key national organisations, including the Care Quality Commission and central government. They must submit a public response to our concerns.

6. What’s the relationship between local Healthwatch and Healthwatch England?

  • Healthwatch England works at the national level, taking local experiences of care and use them to influence national policy.
  • Local Healthwatch signpost people to local health and social care services. They also collect and analyse the experiences that people have of local care to help shape local services. They will then feed views and any recommendations to Healthwatch England to act on at a national level.
  • Together we form the Healthwatch network.

7. Is Healthwatch England completely independent?

  • Healthwatch England has its own 12-person committee responsible for overseeing the independence and delivery of Healthwatch England. We have complete independence to say what needs to be said.
  • We are a partner of the Care Quality Commission and they provide us with support for services like finance, human resources and procurement.

8. Are local Healthwatch organisations accountable to Healthwatch England?

  • No, local Healthwatch organisations are independent organisations; they are accountable to their Governing bodies and to their funders.
  • In the case of Healthwatch Bolton the organisation is accountable to its members who elect the Board of Trustees. The trustees provide leadership and direction for the organisation as well as ensuring good governance.
  • The principal funders of local Healthwatch are Local Authorities.

9. Is local Healthwatch accountable to Healthwatch England?

  • No, your local Healthwatch is commissioned by their local authority and will be accountable to them.
  • Healthwatch England will provide guidance for Local Healthwatch to support them to develop as effectively as possible.
  • Your Local Healthwatch is also accountable to you, the local community that it serves.