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Healthwatch England

What is Healthwatch England?

Healthwatch England is a national independent champion for consumers and users of health and social care in England.

We provide leadership, support and advice to the wider Healthwatch network, including 152 local Healthwatch.

We have powers to ensure the consumers' voice is heard by those who make the decisions. We tell government bodies and local authorities in England about our findings, and report to Parliament every year. We can also ask the health and social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission, to take action when we have special concerns.

What does Healthwatch England do?

Through the local Healthwatch network, Healthwatch England gathers evidence to identify national consumer trends and issues in health and social care. It uses this evidence to influence national policy.

Why was Healthwatch England set up?

Healthwatch England was set up to make sure the views and experiences of consumers across the country are heard clearly by those who plan and run health and social care services.

By making sure the consumer's voice is heard we can help make services better.

Healthwatch England was also set up to provide leadership and support for local Healthwatch, who carry out a similar role at a local community level.

Is Healthwatch England completely independent?

Healthwatch England has its own 12-person committee responsible for overseeing the independence and delivery of Healthwatch England. We have complete independence to say what needs to be said.

We are a partner of the Care Quality Commission and they provide us with support for services like finance, human resources and procurement.

How much influence does Healthwatch England actually have?

By law the organisations who plan, run and regulate health and social care services have to listen to what we have to say. When we're made aware of failing services, we will report them to key national organisations, including the Care Quality Commission and central government. They must submit a public response to our concerns.

However, we believe we can be influential in improving services without the need to enforce our statutory powers.

What power does Healthwatch England have to improve poor practice?

Healthwatch England does not have direct power to change practice. 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 local Healthwatch and Healthwatch England?

Healthwatch England works at the national level. We take local experiences of care and use them to influence national policy.

Local Healthwatch signposts people to local health and social care services. They also collect and analyse the experiences that people have of local care to help shape local services. They will then feed views and any recommendations to Healthwatch England to act on at a national level.

Together we form the Healthwatch network.

Are local Healthwatch organisations accountable to Healthwatch England?

No, local Healthwatch organisations are accountable to their local authority.

How can I contact Healthwatch England or my local Healthwatch?

To contact Healthwatch England, click on the 'Contact us' link below. This will take you to an online form and our address, telephone, and fax numbers. Or you can use the 'Talk to us' button in the upper right of the screen. This also gives you the opportunity to share your thoughts on health and social care services via an online form.

To contact a local Healthwatch, click on the 'Find your Healthwatch' link. This will take you to a map showing the locations of local Healthwatch organisations; clicking on one of these will bring up its contact details. You can also enter your postcode, nearest town or city to find your local Healthwatch.

When should I contact Healthwatch England ?

If you need to speak to someone about your personal experience or have feedback about health and social care, please contact your local Healthwatch. They will be able to help and they will gather your feedback.

While we do not investigate individual cases, your feedback and experience will be collated by local Healthwatch and passed to us so we can identify national trends.

If you have a more general query about our work then please use the Contact us link in the footer below.


For more information, please visit the above website.

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