Frequently asked questions

(Last Updated On: 09.05.2023)

We are here to listen but if you have a question that you think other people have already asked, have a look here first.

What is Healthwatch Leicestershire?

Healthwatch Leicestershire is the independent consumer champion created to gather and represent the views of patients and the public of Leicestershire. We exist to help the public get the best out of their local health and social care services. We do this by representing the views of local communities and acting on behalf of local people.

Who runs Healthwatch Leicestershire?

Leicestershire County Council has responsibility for commissioning the local Healthwatch service. It has awarded the contract to deliver Healthwatch Leicestershire (HWL) to Voluntary Action LeicesterShire (VAL).

The governance arrangements include an overarching HWL Board that is made up of members who are able to represent the diverse communities of the county. While VAL is responsible for the HWL contract, the HWL Board is the body that drives and oversees the work and ensures that HWL is accountable to the public and stakeholders. The VAL Trustees employ staff to support the work of HWL and have the responsibility for financial management, insurance, contract performance and compliance.

What is Healthwatch for?

Healthwatch Leicestershire enables people to share their views and concerns about their local health and social care services and understand that their contribution will help build a picture of where services are doing well and where they can be improved.

Healthwatch provides people with information about their choices and what to do when things go wrong; this includes either signposting people to the relevant provider, or itself providing (if commissioned by the local authority) support to individuals who want to
complain about NHS services.

The priorities for Healthwatch Leicestershire are currently set by the Interim Leadership Group and through listening events, but will eventually be decided by the new Healthwatch Board. The priorities will be based on local needs and Healthwatch intelligence. The aim of Healthwatch is to reduce inequalities in health and social care services. Healthwatch wants equal access, treatment and outcomes for all communities.

Who funds Healthwatch Leicestershire?

The funding for Healthwatch comes from the Department of Health, which is passed on to local authorities to commission local Healthwatch.

How can it be an independent watchdog if the funding comes from the government?

Healthwatch Leicestershire is the independent consumer voice for health and social care. It is independent of national and local government, commissioners and providers of health and social care.

How much does Healthwatch Leicestershire cost to run?

Voluntary Action LeicesterShire has been commissioned to provide Healthwatch services for county residents and had a three-year contract running from April 2013 to March 2016.   An extension for 2016/17 has been given.

The value for year 1 (2013/14) was £325,000 and for 2016/17 the funding stands at £187.391. This supports a staff team, office and running cross as well as an allocation for engagement and communication activities.

With reduced levels of funding, we have to consider carefully where to focus our resources.  In January 2016 we asked our members and the public what health and social care services were a priority for them, this is so we can focus on areas of work where we can make a difference.

Who can be a member of Healthwatch Leicestershire?

Anyone who has an interest in local health and social care services, and who wants to make sure the needs of their community are listened to, can join and get involved.

Subscribe to our Monthly E-Newsletter, take part in online consultations and surveys and submit your questions for our quarterly meetings with Chief Executives of Health & Social Care Services.

To subscribe enter your email address top right.

What’s in it for me if I become a member?

Becoming a member of Healthwatch Leicestershire means having a stronger voice to influence and challenge how health and social care services are provided locally.

Our members are kept up to date with the latest health and social care news, events and consultations as well as representing local people at health and social care meetings.

Depending on the level of membership you choose, Healthwatch Leicestershire members are able to:

  • receive information about health and social care services, events and activities
  • give views and opinions on health and social care services
  • raise awareness of Healthwatch Leicestershire in the local area
  • represent the public voice on boards and at meetings
  • enter and view health and social care services

Where does Healthwatch Leicestershire hold its meetings?

At the present time Healthwatch Leicestershire meetings are held centrally at the Voluntary Action LeicesterShire office. These meetings are held in public. Details are provided on the website and to members via the newsletters.

Why would hospitals or care providers take any notice of Healthwatch Leicestershire?

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 says local Healthwatch has a legal responsibility to report the views of the local community and that the government has a responsibility to listen. This is crucial as it means Healthwatch has the power in law to influence local decision-making around health and social care. Healthwatch Leicestershire signposts people to local health and social care services. They also collect and analyse the experiences that people have of local care to help shape local services. Healthwatch Leicestershire feeds views and any recommendations to Healthwatch England to act on at a national level. Together we form the Healthwatchnetwork of 152 Healthwatch.

Healthwatch Leicestershire will strengthen the collective voice of local people across both health and social care, influencing Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and joint health and wellbeing strategies – on which local commissioning decisions will be based – through its seat on the Leicestershire Health and Wellbeing Board and attendence at the West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and the East Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Group. It will monitor and challenge the commissioning and delivery of health and social care services as the independent consumer champion for the people of Leicestershire.

How will you measure your success over time?

Local Healthwatch is accountable to the people it serves, it’s commissioners and to stakeholders. Healthwatch Leicestershire publishes an Annual Report detailing our work and activities over 12 months for the Commissioners and we hold events where members and the public can provide feedback.

What can Healthwatch Leicestershire do if a health or care provider ignores you?

As an organisation with statutory powers, Healthwatch Leicestershire can challenge both Health and Social providers who are subject to the statutory 20-day response and therefore cannot ignore any challenge or scrutiny by Healthwatch. We will report concerns about the quality of health care to Healthwatch England, our national body. They can then recommend that the Care Quality Commission to take action.