Chat from the Chair
Many of you will have read that we, alongside Hackney Healthwatch and the City of London, have concluded that the current arrangements for managing the Healthwatch City of London (HWCoL) contract are not delivering the benefits we had hoped for. As a result, the current contract with Healthwatch Hackney will end on the 31 May 2019 and I am pleased to announce that Healthwatch City of London will be taking on the contract. This is still subject to contract-signing and agreeing the final proposal.
Residents and workers in the City will, for the first time, have a Healthwatch based in the City working exclusively on matters that are important to them. Healthwatch City of London will be managed by people who live and work here and have a keen and vested interest in making our services work. This is an exciting opportunity; it is not an easy task and the Board have had to think long and hard before deciding to take this on.
We are working closely with Healthwatch England and the City of London to make sure we get it right. Our new organisation will be independent, user-focused and inclusive of all those who live and work here.
There is no doubt that the money won’t go as far in a small organisation without the advantages of accommodation and a large staff. We will need to channel our resources effectively, making sure we maximise our impact within the City, the CCG and East London Health and Care Partnership.
The number of national and local initiatives already underway will affect all of us and we need to be present and heard. So, this is a call to arms: we need volunteers like you to join us in our new Healthwatch, to make sure that we are part of the changes going on around us.
Are you ready for the challenge? Do you have time to spare? We are seeking some new board members; you’ll need to devote quite a bit of time helping us set up the new organisation and steer it through the coming months. We are also on the lookout for some more associate board members. You will have a special interest area either though your own experiences in receiving services or perhaps through your previous or current work. Importantly, you will have some time to spare on a regular basis. We are also keen to hear from those of you who wish to volunteer but have less time or cannot make a regular commitment, but you want to get active. In all these roles you will be representing Healthwatch and not yourself, so you will need to share our values, goals and objectives. However, you do get the chance to help shape these with the board.
I know many of you are very confused and fatigued by all the recent requests for volunteers for numerous organisations and invites to seemingly unconnected events and we are mindful that this has been distracting and annoying. The first thing the board will do is develop a Communications and Engagement Plan through listening to you. There will be more on how we will do this in our June newsletter.
You will see in this newsletter findings of our recent Enter and View visit to the Neaman Practice, undertaken by two City residents who are also associate board members. There are any number of activities like this that we need help with to improve our services.
On a different note, we have been hearing a lot about your experiences in our local hospitals, not least the right to choose where you go for treatment. The distance to the Homerton continues to cause concern, alongside the communication between local hospitals after onward referral. We want to hear about your experiences in exercising choice, both good and bad. This will be confidential, so if you want to tell us more, leave an email contact or a phone number at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3960 7454 and we will get back to you over the next few weeks. We will be working closely with the CCG on this area to makes sure we get it right. In the meantime, we have attached a link to the CCG Choice Policy to help you.
Finally, please do get involved. Why not come and speak to us on 8 May at the Residents Meeting in the Guildhall, contact us at email@example.com or call 020 3960 7454.
Gail Beer, Chair
Healthwatch City of London