A HEALTH and social care watchdog is looking for people to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of patients across Burton.
Healthwatch Staffordshire is recruiting ‘Healthwatch Champions’ as part of its plans to monitor service users’ views.
The watchdog wants to develop a network of volunteer champions committed to improving health and social care.
Jan Sensier, chief executive of Engaging Communities Staffordshire (ECS), said: “The Francis report couldn’t have been clearer – service users have to be given a powerful voice.
“That voice has to be listened to and it has to be acted upon. That’s exactly what Healthwatch Staffordshire is there for, and the champions will be a crucial part of the process.
“It’s not good enough to talk to just the easily accessible and articulate sections of the community. Patient opinion has to come from everywhere and everyone.”
Champions will seek out and represent the views of people in the town by specific need or service.
They will help Healthwatch employees gather and collate public feedback, promote Healthwatch Staffordshire in their own communities and attend meetings or events.
Ms Sensier added: “There will be plenty of training and support, and champions will be part of a district network.
“Champions will have the satisfaction of knowing that what they are doing makes a real difference.
“I’m also confident they will enjoy supporting other people who are passionate about giving the people of Staffordshire the Rolls-Royce Healthwatch they deserve.
“Champions will be our eyes and ears in every neighbourhood in Burton.
“With the support of the public and the service providers themselves, I know we can help deliver very significant improvements.”
The new organisation will have statutory powers to enter providers’ premises to see at first hand how services are being delivered.
All publicly funded health services, including hospitals, GPs and dentists, will come under Healthwatch’s remit when it launches in April – as will adult social services.
More information is available by calling 01785 887841, emailing email@example.com, or visiting www.engagingcommunitiesstaffordshire.co.uk/