Putting residents at the heart of their health and social care services

Tower Hamlets council is preparing to establish a new HealthWatch organisation within the borough, which will be the local consumer champion for health and social care.

As part of the national changes to the way health and social care services are provided, local HealthWatch organisations are being established in all local authority areas to give people greater influence over their local health and social care services. HealthWatches will also provide signposting support to individuals to access information about the health and social care services available to them. From April 2013, local HealthWatches will replace the existing Local Involvement Networks and take on these new responsibilities.

The aim of the new HealthWatch Tower Hamlets is to build on the work and success of the current Tower Hamlets Involvement Network (THINk), and give local people greater power over decisions about funded health and social care services. Ultimately, the organisation will act as a voice for everyone in the borough, and a point of contact for local residents and community organisations around information and advice about health and social care services.

As part of the council's commitment to putting residents at the centre of the development of the new HealthWatch we are holding a series of consultations beginning on Wednesday, June 27.

Through the consultation we are seeking feedback on all aspects of the functioning and management of the local HealthWatch, including the following:

  • The experiences of people using local health and social care services and identification of areas for further improvement to be taken forward by HealthWatch Tower Hamlets
  • Developing the reach of HealthWatch Tower Hamlets to ensure it is able to engage and involve people from all backgrounds

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman said: "The health care landscape is changing. We are always working to ensure that the services we provide are ones that meet residents’ needs and to ensure residents themselves have a say in the services they receive. We want to build on the excellent work of THINk to develop HealthWatch Tower Hamlets”.

Councillor Abdul Asad, lead member for health and wellbeing added: “Given the significant changes to local health services which are currently taking place, the establishment of a local HealthWatch which is able to inform and shape services is to be welcomed. We are committed to ensuring that HealthWatch Tower Hamlets is shaped to meet the needs of our diverse local communities – I would very much encourage everyone to get involved in these consultation events to ensure that your voice is heard”.

Residents can fill in an online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/HealthWatchLBTH. Alternatively, hard copies can be requested by calling 020 7364 4636 or by e-mail to afazul.hoque@towerhamlets.gov.uk.

There will be a number of information events held at Idea Stores across the borough where staff will be on hand to discuss the development of HealthWatch, answer questions and help fill in surveys. The information events will take place on:

Wednesday June 27, 1pm-4pm - Idea Store Chrisp Street, 1 Vesey Path, East India Dock Road, London E14 6BT

Wednesday July 4, 1pm-4pm - Idea Store Bow, 1 Gladstone Place, Roman Road, London E3 5ES

Wednesday July 11, 1pm-4pm - Idea Store Whitechapel, 321 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1BU

The consultation ends on Friday, 3 August.