Suffolk Healthwatch scheme to be set up

Suffolk County Council's cabinet has agreed to develop and implement a Healthwatch scheme for the county.

Healthwatch Suffolk is said by the council to become a 'trusted independent voice' of local people on health and care issues.

The establishment of Healthwatch Suffolk is a direct result of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which stipulates that the public should have a greater say in the decision making and running of health and care services in their area.

Results from an initial consultation also indicated that people were in favour of the establishment of Healthwatch Suffolk in order to better represent the views of residents on health and care issues.

A main desire for Healthwatch Suffolk was to concentrate on scrutinising local services and holding them to account.

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The new scheme has to be implemented by April 1 next year.

After Tuesday's cabinet decision Work will now begin to recruit an executive to bring in Healthwatch Suffolk.

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The executive will be made up of community representatives.

Suffolk County Council will receive funding of between �750,000 to �775,000 from the government to fund Healthwatch and will have a legal responsibility to ensure that it is effective and provides value for money.

Colin Noble, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for adult and community services said: 'We know that health and care issues are extremely important to the people of Suffolk.

'By setting up this new service we will be giving members of the public the opportunity to have their voices heard, to air their concerns and to play a much bigger part in how health and care services are delivered here in Suffolk.'

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