Healthwatch Bucks has been awarded a new three year contract by Buckinghamshire County Council to ensure health and social care services continue to put the views and experiences of the local population at the heart of their work.
The contract will allow the independent organisation to make sure the views of people using health and social care services in Buckinghamshire are heard, considered and influences future strategy.
Healthwatch Bucks will also be providing an Independent Health Complaints Advocacy service as part of the new agreement through a subcontract arrangement with the current provider, the independent charity seAp (Support, Empower, Advocate, Promote).
This means people who may wish to make formal complaints about services they have experienced within the health system in Buckinghamshire can access support to do so.
Miguel Souto, Interim Chief Executive of Healthwatch Bucks, said:
“We have a strong track record for representing the voice of people in Buckinghamshire, and for gathering their views to help shape the health and care services they use. Our team worked extremely hard to secure this contract and we are thrilled to be able to continue this vital work.
“We are delighted to be working with seAp to provide an advocacy service to people who may wish to raise a complaint about the service they have experienced. This marks an exciting development for the way patients and service users are represented across Bucks.”
Councillor Lin Hazell, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:
“Putting people’s views and experiences at the heart of any plans we make to improve or shape new services is essential to ensure we are meeting the needs of our population and can deliver the best health outcomes possible for them. Healthwatch Bucks has played a vital part in allowing us to do that over recent years, and we look forward to working together in the future as they continue to champion the voice of patients and service users across Buckinghamshire.
“The new role as Independent Health Complaints Advocates is extremely welcome – making complaints about health and social care services can sometimes be a daunting process, and it is good to know this support will now be available to people in Buckinghamshire.”
Healthwatch Bucks is part of a national network of 148 independent local organisations set up by the government across England. Its goal is to ensure that the experiences, ideas and opinions of people in Buckinghamshire make a positive difference to the way health and social care is provided in the county.
For more information or to contact Healthwatch Bucks, go to www.healthwatchbucks.co.uk