Agenda item - Healthwatch: Progress Update - Presentation

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Agenda item

Healthwatch: Progress Update - Presentation

Presentation from Jane Viner, Healthwatch Manager (copy attached).


22.1    The Board received a presentation from Jane Viner, Healthwatch Manager, along with a Healthwatch Update paper.  


22.2    Ms Viner explained that Healthwatch was an independent organisation which worked with patients to provide a quality service. The three main roles of Healthwatch were i) Influencing services, ii) Signposting through a helpline which was open from 10.00 am to 12.00 noon every day and iii) Advising.  People could be referred to the complaints process.


22.3    Ms Viner explained the Healthwatch development process.  The transition process Phase 1 - took place from April to July 2013.  Phase 2 – Mobilisation was taking place between August to October 2013.  Phase 3 – Implementation would take place from November to March 2014.  Phase 4 – full independence would be in place from April 2014 onwards.  By then the Healthwatch contract would be transferred from the CVSF to the new Independent Governing Body. 


22.4    Councillor Shanks referred to the Shadowing Governing Body which was being set up.  She asked how Healthwatch was ensuring diversity in the open recruitment process.  Ms Viner explained that part of the selection and recruitment process was to interview people who had skills.  Healthwatch wanted to ensure that the process was representative and were keen to engage young people.       


22.5    Councillor Pissaridou asked who funded Healthwatch and how many workers were paid employees.  She asked if Healthwatch was already a statutory body.  Ms Viner replied that funding was received from the government, via the local authority.  There was a tendering process and Healthwatch was centrally managed by Michelle Pooley, Community Engagement Co-ordinator at the council.  There were four members of staff and an independent Chair who were all paid.  80 volunteers were signed up.  The Volunteer Co-ordinator was a paid post.


22.6    Councillor Bowden asked if the helpline could be extended to 24 hours.  Ms Viner explained that the helpline was transferred from the PCT.  It was currently 10-12.00 noon, five days a week.  Healthwatch wanted to extend this service and this might be carried out via outreach drop-ins or surgeries. 


22.7    Councillor Bowden observed that most surveys of NHS users showed satisfaction.  He asked how people were evaluated when they phoned and how complaints were validated.  Ms Viner replied that Healthwatch worked with individuals and if someone wanted to make a complaint they would be referred to an independent advocacy process.  Healthwatch empowered individuals to make choices for themselves. 


22.8    Geraldine Hoban noted that Healthwatch would be accountable to the council over the next year.  She asked to whom Healthwatch would be accountable post 2014.   Ms Viner explained that Healthwatch would be independent but would still be funded and monitored by the council.  Healthwatch would also be required to send an annual report to the Department of Health.  


22.9    The Chair stated that he was keen to have a Heathwatch representative on the Health & Wellbeing Board.  Ms Viner explained that a Healthwatch representative could be appointed when the Shadow Governing Body was in place.  This would happen before the next meeting of the Health & Wellbeing Board.


22.10  RESOLVED – That the presentation be noted.



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