Patients’ rights group welcomes new chairman and hails a good year

PUBLISHED: 19:00 24 July 2018 | UPDATED: 06:46 25 July 2018

Healthwatch Norfolk Chairman, Bill Armstrong (left), hands over to new chairman, David Edwards.

Healthwatch Norfolk Chairman, Bill Armstrong (left), hands over to new chairman, David Edwards. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

An organisation which champions patients’ rights in Norfolk has held its annual general meeting, welcoming in a new chairman and looking back on another successful year.

Healthwatch Norfolk, held its AGM at the Forum, Norwich, yesterday.

A chance to reflect on what had been achieved over the past 12 months, Alex Stewart the chief executive officer thanked volunteers for their hard work and efforts. Touching on various achievements Mr Stewart highlighted Healthwatch Norfolk’s media presence, involvement with mental health crisis provision, dental care in the region and the group’s work to inform the public about The Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. Mr Stewart also mentioned the group’s targeted maternity work in the county, which saw staff visit 12 baby and toddler groups in Norfolk to assess parents’ and carers’ experiences of services.

He said: “None of this 
would have been achieved without the solid work of a very small group of volunteers but to them, we are really do owe a huge amount of gratitude.”

William Armstrong the outgoing chairman said: “Seventy years on from its inception, the NHS is struggling to cope with a record demand for services and social care is stretched beyond its limit.

“There has never been a greater need for all patients, service users, their families and carers to have a strong independent voice and we are providing that voice for the people of Norfolk.

“When I first started at Healthwatch it wasn’t unusual to have people ask ‘What is Healthwatch?’ But we are here to provide a voice and we are making a difference.” Chairman of the organisation since 2015, Mr Armstrong will now pass the role onto David Edwards, whose former roles have included governor of the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust and chairman of the Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG.

Mr Edwards said: “I’m delighted to be appointed as the new chair of Healthwatch Norfolk, particularly at such an interesting and challenging time for health and social care services in our region.

“There is certain to be considerable change over the next few years and I will be looking to ensure the public view is fully represented and that services are improved.”

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