People can’t help improve health services if they don’t know who to talk to. That’s why patients will now be guided to local Healthwatch by health services to do just that.

As of April 2015 all healthcare services except GP services, opticians, dentists and chemists, have to provide clear information to patients, their carers and representatives about how to contact their local Healthwatch. This rule has come about as part of the NHS Standard Contract for 2015/16 mandated by NHS England.

This means that more people will know where to go to share their experiences and how they can help healthcare services learn and improve. With greater understanding of the issues affecting people, the more we can do to make sure people’s voices are heard and that patients are at the heart of all decisions.

Services are already required to respond to reports and recommendations made by local Healthwatch, allow them to visit services in a formal capacity to find out what people think of them, and act on complaints local Healthwatch make about providers failing to disclose patient safety issues, and all of these requirements remain in the new contract.

If you are a provider of healthcare services and need help informing the public about local Healthwatch get in touch with your local Healthwatch who can provide you with promotional materials.

If you visit a health service, and cannot see any information about your local Healthwatch, please get in touch with your local Healthwatch and let them know.

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