Healthwatch Hertfordshire – giving patients a voice

Healthwatch Hertfordshire listens to local people and shares their views about health and social care. Our sole purpose is to help make care better for people.

We work with:

· Voluntary and community organisations on a local level, such as Viewpoint

· The people who pay for services (called commissioners) such as the Clinical Commissioning Groups

· Health and social care providers like the NHS and County Council. We also work with other places that Hertfordshire residents get care from, such as hospitals in London and Essex.

We improve services by listening to feedback from the public and sharing their views with those with the power to make change happen. We also have statutory powers given by central government to make sure people’s voices get heard.

Our main functions can be divided into 5 key bodies of work:

Gathering Evidence – All of our work is based on what people tell us, either through email, telephone calls, surveys, at events we attend, social media, or by comments left on this website.

Being a ‘critical friend’ – Produce reports and make recommendations about how local care services can be improved (we often do this through targeted research projects and ‘Enter and View’ visits).

Signposting – We help people to find information about local care and health services by letting them know what they can do, or, if we can’t, by putting them in touch with someone who can.

Challenging Health Inequalities – We want to find out what’s happened to those who are finding it difficult to make use of services, or who have trouble making a complaint.

Getting People Involved – We try to ensure the involvement of Hertfordshire’s communities in improving and developing services.

Our work also involves working with the commissioners to:

Represent the People of Hertfordshire – We aim to help commissioners to plan and design services making sure that the views, experiences and needs of patients, carers and users are listened to.

Keep an Eye – We highlight where services are doing well and also where they can be improved. We carry out visits to services to see how well they are working.

Raise Issues – We can also take concerns to the inspectors and regulators if necessary.

We encourage you to share your views and lived experiences with us. We are here to ensure that your voice is heard.