Healthwatch: What will it look like?

Healthwatch (or even HealthWatch) – what will it look like?  Unfortunately, we don’t have a very clear answer to that question yet, but we do have some source material from which we can extract some Best Guesses.

Health & Social Care Bill (draft): Here is our primary source: the draft Health & Social Care Bill – all 281 clauses of it. This draft legislation is the coalition government’s vision for health and social care in England and was presented to parliament on 19 January 2011. Various parts mention Healthwatch England and Local Healthwatch, in particular Part 5: Public Involvement & Local Government and Schedule 13: Local Healthwatch Organisations.

Along with the Bill, we have the Explanatory Notes. Explanatory notes have to be published alongside Acts of Parliament, in order to make them more accessible to the average person who is not legally qualified and perhaps is a tad baffled by what the squillions of pages of legalese might actually mean.

More interesting, perhaps, is some of the information that’s tucked away in the Combined Impact Assessments.  (Impact Assessments summarise the thinking that has gone on around a government Bill, for example, and looks at what the consequences will be.) These Impact Assessments contain more information on exactly how the government is defining things such as ‘information and advice’ (which it is aligning to the PCT PALS function).

What to do with this data:
Well you can have a trawl through all of the above if you are brave enough, or you can just have a look through our best guesses, which we’ve put into the following document: What we (sort of) know about Local Healthwatch. It’s a bit of a stab in the dark – so any clarifications (or alternate interpretations) would be very welcome!

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