Why do we exist?

Healthwatch was established under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to understand the needs, experiences and concerns of people who use health and social care services and to speak out on their behalf.

We exist on a national and local level, working towards the same goal of enabling people to have a voice about their health and social care systems.


Healthwatch England

Healthwatch England are a statutory committee of the independent regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The main statutory functions are to:

  • Provide leadership, guidance, support and advice to local Healthwatch organisations.
  • Escalate concerns about health and social care services which have been raised by local Healthwatch to CQC. CQC are required to respond to advice from the Healthwatch England Committee.
  • Provide advice to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, NHS England and English local authorities, especially where we are of the view that the quality of services provided are not adequate. Bodies to whom advice is given are required to respond in writing. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care is also required to consult Healthwatch England on the NHS mandate, which sets the objectives for the NHS.

Local Healthwatch

Local Healthwatch are funded by and accountable to local authorities.

Their main statutory functions are to:

  • Obtain the views of people about their needs and experience of local health and social care services. Local Healthwatch make these views known to those involved in the commissioning and scrutiny of care services.
  • Make reports and make recommendations about how those services could or should be improved.
  • Promote and support the involvement of people in the monitoring, commissioning and provision of local health and social care services.
  • Provide information and advice to the public about accessing health and social care services and the options available to them.
  • Make the views and experiences of people known to Healthwatch England, helping us to carry out our role as national champion.
  • Make recommendations to Healthwatch England to advise the CQC to carry out special reviews or investigations into areas of concern.