A new health watchdog to represent the voice of patients in Norfolk is on the brink of being created.

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Norfolk County Council is planning an innovative approach to developing a local healthwatch for Norfolk, building on the work carried out by Norfolk Local Involvement Network over the last four years and serving as an independent champion for health, social care and wellbeing in the county.

A string of organisations and individuals want to join forces to be part of the Norfolk healthwatch including Age UK, Voluntary Norfolk, Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind, Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People, Norwich and West Norfolk Citizens Advice Bureau and the Mancroft Advisory Project.

Those and others aim to form a social enterprise organisation to establish the new healthwatch organisation, which would get £546,000 a year from the county council.

Among its roles will be to provide information and advice to the public about accessing health and social care services and to promote and support the involvement of people in the monitoring, commissioning and provision of local care services.

They will have a key role in gathering people’s views about local care services and telling those who provide them how they can be improved.

While the new healthwatch is due to start from next April, at a meeting of the county council’s cabinet next month, officers are recommending that steps be taken to fund a “shadow period” from October until next spring.

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