Sunday, July 14, 2024

Committee discuss plans for new health watchdog

By Myles Cook

PLANS for the new local health and social care watchdog, HealthWatch Thurrock, which takes over from its predecessor, Thurrock LINk, on 1 April 2013 were presented to the Health & Well-Being Overview & Scrutiny Committee last night (Tuesday). HealthWatch Thurrock will be the “people’s champion” on matters of health and social care, the committee was told.

HealthWatch, part of the Coalition Government’s Health & Social Care Act 2012 reforms, will be run as a grant-funded social enterprise that will carry out statutory functions with a slightly larger remit than the current one held by LINk. These extra responsibilities will include some work around children’s issues but will not extend to the Enter and View powers under the adult purview. The new organisation would be an independent body, however.

The plans for the local HealthWatch are being based on the current model under LINk as Thurrock Council, who will be commissioning and monitoring the new organisation, wished to build upon the excellent reputation and effective and efficient work done by LINk in the past few years.

HealthWatch will be a membership organisation with a constituted Board of Directors appointed by and accountable to the wider membership. There is a suggestion based on the proposed model of two types of membership, associate and full, with the commitment offered by an individual in terms of active volunteering being the deciding factor in membership status.

A further recommendation was put forward as to the retention of Thurrock CVS as an arms-length parent company to allow continuity of provision. It is hoped that the transition between Thurrock LINk and HealthWatch Thurrock will be seamless with a straight migration of membership from one to the other.

Janice Forbes-Burford, co-author of the report, stated that there was insufficient data and statistics on which to base a commissioning strategy for the new local healthcare advocacy service the council must also set up. Thurrock Council has, therefore, entered into a one-year collaboration with eight other authorities on a scheme to collect the data necessary to inform the longer term arrangements from April 2014.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


More articles