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Frequently asked questions

We're here to listen. If you have a question have a look here first to see if it's already been asked and answered or alternatively mail us at info@healthwatchcamden.co.uk.

We're open Monday to Friday, 9.30 to 5.30pm.

What is Healthwatch?

Healthwatch Camden is an independent body formed to give patients, service users, carers and local people a stronger voice to influence and improve how health and social care services are provided to the people of Camden.

Functions of Healthwatch

The functions of local Healthwatch organisations are described in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 are:

  • Obtain the views of people about their needs for, and experience of, local care services and make those views known to those involved in the commissioning, provision and scrutiny of care services.
  • Make reports and make recommendations about how those services could or should be improved.
  • Provide information and advice to the public about accessing health and social care services and choice in relation to aspects of those services.
  • Promote and support the involvement of people in the monitoring, commissioning and provision of local care services.
  • Make the views and experiences of people from Camden known to Healthwatch England helping it to carry out its role as national champion.
  • The “enter and view” power, meaning that visits can be made (including unannounced ones where there is sufficient justification) to all publicly funded health and social care services, providing support for adults. Once on site, authorised representatives can talk to patients and others and observe what is going on. It will report on its findings.

What we do

We provide a collective voice for health and social care users, and collaborate with the voluntary and community sector to disseminate information, gather views and experience. In partnership with other bodies we also undertake focused research and gather evidence. We use this evidence to influence local policy.

We make sure that when people get involved in improving health and social care, they are supported and their views listened to and respected. People can call us for advice in navigating the health system.

We go out into the local community to talk with local people about the health and care issues that matter to them, and visit local services to check on people’s experience.

We also make sure that organisations providing and commissioning services have effective ways to involve people in the way those services are planned and run.

Vision, Aims and Objectives

How we want the world to be

To make your health and social care the most people-focused in the country

Why we exist and the difference we will make

To be the voice of local people. If you don’t think things are good enough, we will do everything we can to change it.

The areas of activity or practical steps we will do to accomplish our aims

  • We will talk to you listen and understand what matters to you.  Whether you tell us direct, take part in a local forum, or make a complaint to your local hospital, we will make sure it all comes together to form the most complete picture of what everyone cares about in Camden
  • We will use this information to work alongside you to challenge how your services are run: right from the top decision makers to the GP practices on your street corner.
  • We will help you to take control and give you information on where and how to get the treatment and care you need.

Why should I volunteer for Heathwatch Camden?

By volunteering for Healthwatch Camden, you will be using your skills, experience, talents or passion to make a positive difference to an individual, a community and to your local Healthwatch.

There are a wide range of ways that people can get involved as a volunteer. Whatever your area of interest, skills, or time available there is likely to be something to suit you.

For example, as a volunteer you can help to gather the views of local patients and service users of health and social care services. We want local voices to influence the delivery and design of these services, and we need your help to capture the voices of patients and the public and get them heard.

You can also help us to make sure that people can find the services they need. You can help by researching services, updating web directories, attending public events and more.

You can help with supporting people to make best use of services, supporting them to make choices in services and to know their rights in services.

If you are not yet sure how you would prefer to get involved, don’t worry. All you need to do is tell us how much time you are willing to set aside, what your main area of interest is, and we will help you find an opportunity that suits your time and interest.

Why was Healthwatch Camden set up

Healthwatch Camden was set up to make sure the views and experiences of consumers in the borough of Camden are heard clearly by those who plan and run health and social care services. By making sure that the consumer's voice is heard we can help make services better.

Is Healthwatch Camden completely independent?

Healthwatch Camden is set up an independent charity. It has a board of trustees responsible for overseeing the independence and delivery of Healthwatch Camden. We have complete independence to say what needs to be said. 

How much influence does Healthwatch Camden actually have?

By law the organisations who plan, run and regulate health and social care services in Camden have to listen to what we have to say. When we're made aware of failing services, we report them directly to the right places. We can influence how services work together through the Health and Wellbeing board, where we have a seat.  We also have influence with the Care Quality Commission, the Clinical Commissioning Group and central government.

We are supported by Healthwatch England, which also has statutory powers, and can raise serious issues at the highest level. However, we believe we can often be influential in improving services through dialogue and partnership, without the need to invoke our statutory powers.

What power does Healthwatch Camden have to improve local services?

Healthwatch Camden does not have direct power to change practice. But we can and will influence and where necessary challenge, to bring about change. We gather and present evidence of shortfalls and issues in health and social care services to regulators, other arms-length bodies, and government departments. They are obliged to respond to us and we will always make that response public.

What’s the relationship between Healthwatch Camden and Healthwatch England?

Healthwatch Camden works at a local level. Healthwatch England works at a national level.

We tackle local experiences of care and use them to influence local policy.

Healthwatch Camden signposts people to local health and social care services. We also collect and analyse the experiences that people have of local care to help shape local services. We will then feed in any views and any recommendations to Camden’s Health and Wellbeing board, and if appropriate to Healthwatch England to act on at a national level.

 Together we form the Healthwatch network.

Is Healthwatch part of the NHS?

No. Healthwatch Camden is an independent organisation that is here to represent the views of the people that use health and social care services in the Camden borough.

Can you challenge private sector practices?

Our remit covers any provider of health and social care that is in receipt of public funding.

When should I contact Healthwatch Camden?

If you need to speak to someone about your personal experience or have feedback about a local health and social care service. Or if you want information about local health and social care services, or would like to become a volunteer for Healthwatch.

What if I have a complaint about Healthwatch Camden?

Individuals and organisations have the right to express their views about the performance of Healthwatch Camden and the way in which it conducts its business. We are keen to hear from you if you have any comments to make about Healthwatch Camden and the services we provide.

We welcome your views and will do our best to deal with any complaints promptly and efficiently. Anyone who is dissatisfied with any aspect of the service received by Healthwatch Camden can make a complaint under Healthwatch Camden’s complaints policy. We will treat both concerns and complaints in the same way.

This Policy does not cover:

  • Complaints or concerns about the NHS, which should be dealt with through the NHS complaints procedure.
  • Complaints about the provision of social care services which should be dealt with by Camden Council complaints procedure.

We will review this policy on a regular basis.

You can see our guide about raising a complaint, in full here