Have Your Say on New Consumer Champion for Staffordshire

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By shepherdpr | Thursday, March 08, 2012, 16:24

HEALTH and social care groups are being urged to have their say on how a new Staffordshire watchdog and consumer champion should be run.


Staffordshire will be one of 152 Local HealthWatch organisations across England and it was awarded Pathfinder status for Local HealthWatch in preparation for its launch in April next year.


Ministers want Local HealthWatch to be the "voice of local people". It will collect and analyse service user feedback which will be reported to HealthWatch England, the national body for HealthWatch, and it will pass concerns to politicians, officials and service providers.


This, they say, will allow patients and social care users to help shape services locally and nationally.


And the LINk is holding an event on Monday to tell health and social care groups across the county more about the project and to find out how they think the new organisation should be run.


Jackie Owen, manager at Staffordshire LINk, said: "It is so important we get this right for the sake of everyone involved – patients, service users and service providers.


"HealthWatch Staffordshire will give local people a direct line to policymakers and service providers and they will be able to change things for the benefit of users across the county and beyond.


"Staffordshire LINk has made fantastic strides over the last 18 months, gaining feedback from more and more groups and individuals and helping to bring about real changes. As Local HealthWatch, we would be able to give Staffordshire residents an even stronger voice."


Representatives of relevant groups can find out more about Local HealthWatch and have their say by talking to Staffordshire LINk representatives at the consultation event on Monday, March 12.


It takes place between 4pm and 7pm at the Arthur Findlay Centre, 96A Stone Road, Stafford.


Ms Owen added: "Any group with an interest should come along to the Stafford event.


"If you represent patients, carers, families, voluntary organisations or service providers we'd love to hear from you.


"The landscape of service provision will change dramatically over the next few years as budget restrictions take hold and new technology and new ways of working create new opportunities to overcome challenges.


"HealthWatch will play a vital part in preserving what needs to be preserved and making sure changes are for the better. But to do that we need the expertise and opinions of everyone involved.


"Getting this right from the start will place residents at the heart of local and national decision-making."


For more information about Staffordshire LINk, visit www.staffordshirelink.org.uk or call 01785 887990.




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