Healthwatch Somerset aims to give public a voice

PUBLISHED: 12:30 18 December 2012

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A NEW voice for the public on health and social care issues has taken a big step forward.

Somerset County Council has awarded a contract to set up Healthwatch Somerset, a new organisation that will champion the priorities of the public on health and social care services.

Independent of the council and Somerset NHS, Healthwatch Somerset will use real experiences to highlight local issues and influence the way services are designed and delivered.

Its role will include giving the public a stronger voice, promoting health improvements and passing recommendations to Healthwatch England and the Care Quality Commission.

It will also have a seat on Somerset’s Health and Wellbeing Board.

Cabinet member for health and adult social care, Christine Lawrence, said: “Healthwatch Somerset will actively seek views from all sections of the community, especially from those who sometimes struggle to be heard.”

All local authorities are required by Government to establish a local Healthwatch organisation to begin work in April 2013.

Following a full tendering process, the authority has commissioned The Care Fourm to set up and manage Healthwatch Somerset.

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