Please look at the frequently asked questions below or contact us if you want to know anything else about the work of Healthwatch Kingston.
1. What is Healthwatch England?
Healthwatch England is a national independent champion for consumers and users of health and social care in England. They provide leadership, support and advice to the wider Healthwatch network. They have powers to ensure the consumers’ voice is heard by those who make the decisions. They tell government bodies and local authorities in England about their findings, and report to Parliament every year. They can also ask the health and social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission, to take action when we have special concerns. You can read more about Healthwatch England on their website.
2. Is Healthwatch Kingston accountable to Healthwatch England?
No, Healthwatch Kingston is accountable to the local authority. Our local authority in the Royal Borough of Kingston. We are also accountable to you!
4. Is Healthwatch part of the NHS?
No. Although Healthwatch England is part of the Care Quality Commission, local Healthwatch organisations are being established as fully independent bodies run by local people, for local people.
5. What does Healthwatch Kingston do?
Healthwatch Kingston represents everyone who lives in the borough. We give people across Kingston the opportunity to have their say about health and care services. We are an independent organisation but we have a statutory voice — commissioners and providers have to listen to people through us.
We work to help people (especially underrepresented groups) get the best out of health and social care services in Kingston; whether it’s improving them today or helping to shape them for tomorrow. We are all about local voices being able to influence the delivery and design of their services – not just people for who use them, but for anyone who might need them in the future.
6. What are Enter and View visits?
All Healthwatch organisations have the statutory right to undertake ‘enter and view’ visits which allows trained authorised representatives of Healthwatch Kingston to enter those premises where healthcare (adults and children) and social care (adults only) is provided, to observe the nature and quality of the services. These visits are an opportunity to collect views directly from service users, their family and carers and to observe the quality of the service provided. These visits can be announced or unannounced. The findings help us to monitor and challenge health and social care services and following the visits, we can make recommendations to the people who run the services so they can be improved. All of our ‘authorised representatives’ are trained and have undergone a Disclosure and Barring Service check before undertaking the visits on behalf of Healthwatch Kingston.