Healthwatch are the independent national champion for people who use health and social care services. They are there to find out what matters to people and help make sure their views shape and support provision decisions. As well as seeking the public's views themselves, they also encourage health and social care services to involve people in decisions that affect them.
There is a local Healthwatch in every area of England, seeking feedback from local people and sharing these views with those who have the power to make change happen. Healthwatch also helps people find the information they need about services in their area.
NHS Frimley works with local Healthwatch organisations as key partners to better understand what they are hearing and how we can make changes as a result. Healthwatch plays a part in driving the future direction of health and care services. We occasionally commission Healthwatch to undertake independent work on our behalf, particularly when we want to ensure independence and capture anonymous or impartial feedback. You can read more via our Insights and Involvement Portal here.
The voluntary sector across Frimley plays a huge part in the health and wellbeing of local people and communities. Throughout the pandemic the sector has demonstrated the vital role they play in mobilising volunteers, providing resilience to small charities and community organisations, supporting sustainable community projects and harnessing community spirit.
NHS Frimley works closely with the Voluntary sector in a range of different ways. Most small charities and voluntary groups are supported by their local Council for Voluntary Services (CVS). As part of the ‘Embedding VCSE in ICS’ project, NHS Frimley is actively working with our seven local CVS organisations, with the support of NHS England and the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) to develop a 'Voluntary Sector Alliance' for Frimley to further enhance the role not just as service providers but in system leadership and governance.
The benefits of a new way of working include:
- providing a unified ‘voice’ for the sector
- providing a ‘front door’ to the sector for wider stakeholders
- amplifying the voices of the most vulnerable and unheard (both operationally and strategically)
- enabling the sector to have a stronger voice and facilitate opportunities for commissioned delivery of services
You can read more about the councils of voluntary services in our area and how to get in touch on the Frimley Health and Care community support page.