Regional Voices supports both the voluntary sector and local Healthwatch. This section of the website provides information about Healthwatch for the voluntary and community sector and for emerging Healthwatch organisations. Local Healthwatch gives communities a stronger voice by influencing and challenging how health and social care services are delivered as well as providing or signposting people to information to help them make choices about health and care services.

To be an effective voice for communities, local Healthwatch organisations need to collaborate closely with the voluntary and community sector.  Nationally, Regional Voices is working with the Department of Health, Healthwatch England and the Local Government Association to support the successful development of local Healthwatch. We have been working with the LINks to ensure lessons learnt will not be lost, through the LINks Legacy Project, supported Pathfinger Healthwatch areas and now are supporting developing local Healthwatch.

Support for developing local Healthwatch:

The Voluntary and Community Sector- a Key Partner in Local Healthwatch

Voluntary and community sector organisations can contribute to the success of local Healthwatch in a number of ways. This resource looks at the six functions of local Healthwatch and gives some recommendations about what added value your organisations can bring to local Healthwatch. The VCS a Key Partner in Local Healthwatch.

Voluntary Sector North West has also produced a briefing that gives a brief overview of Healthwatch.

Maintaining Independence- a Guide for Local Healthwatch

A briefing about the tools available to local Healthwatch organisations to support them maintain an independent voice.  Developed in partnership between Compact Voice, Regional Voices and Healthwatch England    Maintaining Independence- a Guide for Local Healthwatch

What Makes a Great Healthwatch?

Work in the North East with twelve developing Healthwatches resulted in this resource to help the new organisations become great organisations.  What Makes a Great Healthwatch?

Learning from the LINks

Resources from the "LINks Legacy" programme have been developed by Regional Voices, Disability Rights UK, NAVCA and the Race Equality Foundation, on the themes of leadership, engagement, representation and influence. The resources aim to capture the best bits from the LINks and prevent local Healthwatch needing to reinvent the wheel.  All resources can be found on:

For Healthwatch: Making contact with your local voluntary and community sector

Regional Voices is a partnership of nine regional networks. These networks will all be able to help you to make contact with the most relevant voluntary and community sector in your area. Use this map to contact the network in your area.

 Making contact with your local Healthwatch organisation

 You can find links to your local Healthwatch organisation on the Healthwatch England website.

Resources from previous projects:

Regionally, the regional networks are supporting the development of local Healthwatch, working with local authorities and newly established Healthwatches, sharing learning between local areas. Regional Voices is also developing support for representatives from Healthwatch and the wider voluntary and community sector on health and wellbeing boards more information about this project can be seen on link to health and wellbeing board representation project