Thursday 11 April 2013, Healthwatch England simultaneously at five events across England.

Healthwatch is the new consumer champion for health and social care for residents of its 152 local groups. Future East’s members Ruth Featherstone and Peter Coleing, were present at the launch of Healthwatch in London to learn what has been setup in our region. Jeremy Hunt Secretary of State for Health said the NHS must become patient driven and that all of the NHS must understand that complaints are like gold dust and should be welcomed as a real aid to improving services and not just a target.
Local Healthwatch organisations are the voice for patients and service users and importantly future patients and service users and Future East needs to work closely with them. We will need to ensure that while feeding evidence based information into the Healthwatch network that we also continue to be the distinctive voice of older people in our region on all aspects affecting the lives of older people and ageing.
We are hearing some local authorities suggest that Healthwatch is the residents’ voice on all matters of engagement with their residents. This can never be as there is a much wider range of services provided and commissioned by local authorities than health and social care where we continue to be the voice of older residents. There is much to do to embed ageing well and enhance the effective engagement of all service providers with older people and influence service development.
Future East is fully committed to working alongside Healthwatch locally and at Regional level to make the lives of all older people better.

Ruth and Peter at Healthwatch Lanch 1