Healthwatch must engage with patients if it is to fulfil its remit, conference hears

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 26 April 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2731
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

The new Healthwatch network will fail if it does not radically transform patient involvement in delivering health and social care and champion people’s right to choice, a conference heard.

Experts said that they hoped the leadership body Healthwatch England and 152 local Healthwatch groups would help to put patients at the heart of services and bring about better models of care.

But some voiced concerns that the new system might not work as planned, could be weakened by conflicts of interest, or see the “usual suspects” and “vocal minorities” elevate their priorities over those of the wider community.

Westminster Health Forum held a seminar in London on 24 April to debate how the new system was being …

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