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The Roles, responsibilities and functions of local Healthwatch organisations

Healthwatch Suffolk was set up in April 2013.

The details set out in the Act mean that local Healthwatch, will:

  • Provide information and advice to the public about accessing health and social care services and choice in relation to aspects of those services; 
  • Make the views and experiences of people known to Healthwatch England helping it to carry out its role as national champion;
  • Make recommendations to Healthwatch England to advise the Care Quality Commission to carry out special reviews or investigations into areas of concern (or, if the circumstances justify it, go direct to the CQC with their recommendations, for example if urgent action were required by the CQC);
  • Promote and support the involvement of people in the monitoring, commissioning and provision of local care services;
  • 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; and
  • Make reports and make recommendations about how those services could or should be improved.

Additionally, local authorities have taken on responsibility for commissioning NHS complaints advocacy since April 2013. The local Healthwatch provides the service or signposts people to the provider of that service. 

Local Healthwatch have a seat on the local authority statutory Health and Wellbeing Board. 

In summary, the local Healthwatch does the following:

  • Carry out statutory functions;
  • Be corporate bodies, embedded in local communities;
  • Act as local consumer champion representing the collective voice of patients, service users, carers and the public, on statutory health and wellbeing boards;
  • Play an integral role in the preparation of the statutory Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and joint health and wellbeing strategies on which local commissioning decisions will be based;
  • Have real influence with commissioners, providers, regulators and Healthwatch England using their knowledge of what matters to local people; and
  • Support individuals to access information about independent advocacy if they need help to complain about NHS services.

You can find out more by visiting the Healthwatch website.

Useful links

Healthwatch Suffolk

Healthwatch (national site)

Please note that all links open in new window.


Healthwatch Suffolk often issue surveys about local health services.  

The surveys will ask you for your views about specific services.  Once a survey has closed, a final report will follow.  Reports are sent to various parts of the health and care system to best influence the design, shape and current provision of services on the basis of what people in Suffolk have said.

Click here to visit their website and have your say.

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