HEALTHWATCH is the new consumer champion for health and social care in the Cheshire West and Chester area during a period of national reform.
The local Healthwatch contract has been awarded to a consortium of organisations at a time when campaigners fear the NHS is being privatised.
The group comprises Age UK Cheshire, Cheshire Centre for Independent Living, Cheshire, Halton and Warrington Race Equality Centre, Chester Voluntary Action, DIAL House Chester and the Youth Federation.
Northwich-based Healthwatch says its aim is to become the ‘influential and effective voice of the public’. The group will provide the public with information about choices and what to do when things go wrong.
Lynne Turnbull, chief executive at Cheshire Centre for Independent Living, said: “On behalf of the consortium, we are all delighted to have the opportunity to implement Local Healthwatch and use our expertise as disabled people’s user-led organisations and key voluntary organisations to develop Healthwatch as a representative voice for children, young people and adults.”
The group will also work with the Clinical Commissioning Groups, which have replaced Primary Care Trusts, to ensure services meet local citizens’ needs.