Healthwatch is a consumer champion for health and social care which began on 1st April 2013 and has a role at national level as Healthwatch England, and at local level as local Healthwatch organisations. Healthwatch was created to gather and represent the opinions and experiences of the public about health and social care services and issues.

Healthwatch Dorset: is the local Healthwatch for Dorset.  It is a Social Enterprise administered by local charity Help & Care, in partnership with the Citizens Advice Bureau, and Dorset Race Equality Council. Healthwatch Dorset collects the views, opinions, experiences of local people about their health and social care services and gives them a powerful voice both locally and nationally to influence change and the design and development of local services. Healthwatch Dorset represents the views of local people, service users, and carers on the local Health and Wellbeing Boards set up by the local authorities, and provides information and signposting to local health and care services, and reports concerns about health care to Healthwatch England who can then recommend that the Care Quality Commission take action.

How does Healthwatch Dorset work?

People need to feel that their local Healthwatch belongs to and reflects them and their local community. It needs to feel approachable, practical and dynamic and to act on behalf of local people. Healthwatch Dorset do this by:

  • helping you to shape and improve the services you use

  • engaging with people in your community

  • being an open organisation who want to make it easy to talk to Healthwatch

  • being an inclusive organisation encouraging all sectors of the community to join Healthwatch Dorset

  • informing the community about what Healthwatch are doing and what is happening locally

  • the local community being able to hold Healthwatch to account

  • helping to improve local services using the evidence gathered from the community to build a true picture of local services

Please share your experiences with Healthwatch Dorset by contacting us or using the Speak Out form on their website If they receive several concerns regarding the same issue they can take these to Service Providers, Commissioners of Services, and also to Healthwatch England who can identify national trends.

The right to complain or give feedback about an unsatisfactory service is a key consumer right. It is one that Healthwatch champions. Their role is to ensure that the voices of consumers and those who use services reach the ears of decision makers – even when those voices have something difficult to say. Although most people have no problems when using health care or social care services, sometimes things can go wrong. This information explains what to do if you, or a member of your family, want to complain about the care that you have received.

Healthwatch Dorset can put people in touch with the right organisation to listen to their concerns, and make sure their voice is heard. They work closely with Dorset Advocacy, who provide help with NHS complaints in Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth. Through their information service (0300 111 0102) they can refer people to their free and independent service that listens, offers support and representation to people who are unhappy about their experience with the NHS.  You may already have started a complaint, or you may just be wondering what to do next; they may be able to help you.  Their trained Independent Complaints Information Officers can tell you about the options for taking your complaint forward.  If you decide that you want to make a formal complaint, they can help you to set it out clearly and effectively. For more complex complaints they provide Independent Complaints Advocates who offer face to face support.  They may attend complaints hearings with you, helping you to prepare and put forward your case.

Contact Healthwatch Dorset with your views or if you wish to become one of their volunteers:
In person: by popping into any Citizens Advice Bureau in Dorset, Bournemouth or Poole.
Telephone on: 0300 111 0102 (calls cost the same as to 01 or 02 numbers).
By email using the Contact Us tab on the website .

Healthwatch England

Healthwatch England uses the evidence that it gathers from local Healthwatch organisations to build a national picture of which issues matter most to health and care users and consumers.  They use this evidence to influence those who plan and run services at a national level and have the power to ask the health and social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission, to look at areas where there are special concerns. Healthwatch England is able to work and raise issues at the highest national levels including national bodies, specialist organisations and government ministries.

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