Health and social care champion will provide a ‘strong consumer voice’ in Devon
Posted on: 6 February 2013
A £1 million contract to develop a new consumer champion for Devon has been awarded by Devon County Council to the Community Council of Devon, an independent local charity.
The charity, which is part of the rural community councils network, has been awarded the contract for the development of Healthwatch Devon – the local consumer champion for health and social care. Healthwatch is being established as part of the government’s Health and Social Care Act, which will radically alter the way health and social care services are delivered.
The new independent consumer champion group will exist at a local and national level, and be in place by 1 April.
Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults’ Social Care, Cllr Stuart Barker, said: “It is crucial that we have a strong consumer voice in Devon and across the country so that we make the most informed decisions about health and social care services.
“In Devon we have very well developed networks of people who access health and social care services working alongside the current Local Involvement Network, and the new HealthWatch Devon will continue to strengthen these relationships.
“The formation of Devon HealthWatch will establish a new powerful consumer voice which aims to involve the general public and networks of service users, such as older people, on a whole range of health and social care issues; and work alongside local organisations to ensure that health and social care developments are kept to the forefront.”
A series of consultation events was run by Devon County Council as part of the Healthwatch design and procurement process.
Devon Healthwatch will be represented on the newly formed Health and Wellbeing Board, which will become a statutory committee of the Council from April 1, and currently exists as a shadow board.
Councillor Andrea Davis, Chairman of the board, and Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Health and wellbeing boards will be a forum for local commissioners across the NHS, public health and social care to work with a range of partner organisations, elected representatives and Healthwatch Devon to work together to improve the health and wellbeing of the people in their area.
“The role of Healthwatch Devon on the Health and Wellbeing Board will ensure a strong consumer voice at the highest level.”
Elaine Cook, Chief Executive of the Community Council of Devon said: “We are looking forward to working with a broad range of partners across Devon including CAB Devon, Devon Senior Voice and patient participation groups, and Peninsular Enterprise, to ensure that everyone in Devon is able to have their say on health and social care.
“The Community Council has secured private sector partners to help develop Healthwatch Devon because of the particular expertise they offer: Peninsula Enterprise will be commissioned to design and manage the website and social media, whilst Deborah Clark Associates will be commissioned to produce a high profile launch event in the first week of April. Both of these partners will be helping to ensure that everybody in Devon gets to hear about their new Watchdog.”Posted in: Health and Wellbeing