What we do
We exist to make health and care services work for the people who use them. We give people across West Sussex the opportunity to have their say about health and care services. We are an independent organisation but we have a statutory voice, meaning those who plan, buy, provide and monitor services (commissioners and providers) have to listen to people through us.
We work to help people (especially under-represented groups) get the best out of health and social care services in West Sussex; whether it’s improving them today or helping to shape them for tomorrow.
How do we do this?
We carry out community listening tours, from Crawley to the Coast, taking in schools; local groups and services; residential homes and beyond, to make sure we seek out the views and experiences of a wide range of people, throughout our county. We also carry out regular hospital visits to talk to patients and their family friend carers; staff and visitors to find out what is working and not working well for local people. We attend events in the community and run our own activities to engage with local people.
As a local Healthwatch our work has the potential to span the whole of health and social care, for children and adults. To work as effectively as we can for local people, with our limited resources, we must focus our planned projects, and time in the community, around a few key areas. These we call our priorities.
How has Healthwatch West Sussex been set up?
The Health and Social Care Act 2012 established Healthwatch England, a national body which is part of the Care Quality Commission but also an independent body. Healthwatch West Sussex is a local Healthwatch, supported by:
- Council commissioners – who are responsible for providing local leadership, managing contracts and ensuring effective delivery in line with legislation, there is flexibility for councils to choose the commissioning route to achieve best value for money for their communities
- Healthwatch England – who provide national leadership
- The Department of Health – who have overall responsibility for the Health and Social Care Act 2012 policy
The Department of Health who fund us, through West Sussex County Council, produced a document to explain our role, it is called “Local Healthwatch: A strong voice for people’ and is available here
Healthwatch West Sussex is an independent organisation, able to employ its own staff and involve volunteers in order to be an influential and effective voice of the public.
Is Healthwatch part of the NHS?
No, local Healthwatch organisations are established as fully independent autonomous bodies that work with the public to improve health and social care services. Healthwatch England is a statutory committee within the Care Quality Commission.
What difference can Healthwatch West Sussex make?
We represent you on West Sussex’s Health and Wellbeing Board (the strategic body that oversees all health and social care in the county) and work with the commissioners from West Sussex’s three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), local authorities and NHS England.
We also have regular contact with providers of health and social care services across West Sussex and work with them to ensure that your views and experiences are listened to and help inform changes.
We have worked hard at developing positive relationships across the health and social care system so that we can work constructively on your behalf.
At the same time, if Healthwatch West Sussex raises a concern with commissioners or providers of care then they have a duty to respond to us. We have an Escalating Concerns Policy, to help commissioners and providers understand how we will respond to issues.
You can see the difference we have already made on Our Work page.
How can I become involved?
We need local people who are passionate about improving health and social care in West Sussex, regardless of their experience, to become involved in the work we do. You may already be active in your local community, be a member of a patient forum, or have no previous experience. Please get in touch at [email protected] to find out more about our opportunities.
Healthwatch West Sussex has the right in law to enter and view adult and children’s health care settings and adult social care settings. The law also states as a local Healthwatch we must receive a response from statutory agencies, to any formal recommendations we make, within 20 working days.
It is a legal requirement that all companies in the UK include certain regulatory information on their website:
Company name: Healthwatch West Sussex CIC
Company registration number: 08557470
Registered office: 896 Christchurch Road, Pokesdown, BH7 6DL