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Help shape new health watchdog
A PATIENT watchdog that keeps a close eye on health care in Cheshire will be changing from April 2013.
Under the current system Local Involvement Networks (LINks) champion patients, carers and all those who use NHS and social care services.
But LINks are set to be abolished and replaced with Local Healthwatch from April 1.
Jackie Lewis, a community engagement worker with LINk, said: “What Healthwatch will be doing is very similar to what we’re doing now.
“They will be an overseeing body to make sure services are running and they will become more and more important as the health service changes.”
LINks are independent statutory bodies made up of people and organisations that inform residents and involve communities in commissioning, developing and keeping an eye on health and social care.
They assess care services by ‘enter and view’ visits, listening to users and carrying out surveys and they can make recommendations to providers.
Local Healthwatch organisations, which have to be set up by every unitary authority, will have similar powers and a similar role but how they will work is up to each individual council to design.
Each Local Healthwatch, which will not be a statutory body, is then expected to be contracted out to a company like a community interest company or charity.
Cheshire West and Chester Council is running a consultation for residents to help it shape Cheshire West and Chester’s Healthwatch.
For more information visit cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/consultations.
The deadline to complete the survey is Friday, September 21.