Healthwatch Champions to Give Staffordshire Patients a Powerful Voice

A health and social care watchdog is looking for people to be the “eyes and ears” of patients across the county.

Online PR News – 22-April-2013 – UK – A health and social care watchdog is looking for people to be the “eyes and ears” of patients across the county.

Healthwatch Staffordshire is recruiting Healthwatch Champions as part of its programme to give service users a powerful voice – and to help ensure patient safety in the light of the Francis report into Stafford Hospital.

The report said patient involvement was a critical part of improving health services and making them safe.

Healthwatch Staffordshire wants to develop a network of volunteer Champions committed to improving health and social care.

Healthwatch, which is run by independent consumer group Engaging Communities Staffordshire (ECS), went live in April.

Jan Sensier, chief executive of 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 local people by area or 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.

Volunteers should be able to build a good rapport with residents, have good written and verbal communication skills and be able to work as part of a team.

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 Staffordshire. 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. Healthwatch Staffordshire will be able to recommend improvements and providers will have to respond to those recommendations.

All publicly-funded health services, including hospitals, GPs and dentists, will come under Healthwatch’s remit – as will adult social services.

Healthwatch is part of a national scheme, and local Healthwatch groups have been set up across England. They will have a seat on the county’s Health and Wellbeing Board – a forum of health and social care leaders that helps shape policies and improvements.

For a Healthwatch Champion application form, call 01785 887841, email, or download it from


Press release issued by David Johnson at Shepherd PR. Jan Sensier is happy to be interviewed. For more information, or to arrange an interview, please call 01335 368020 or email

Notes to Editors

Healthwatch Staffordshire actively pursues health and adult social care service user feedback. It officially launched in April, 2013.

The information gathered is used to help shape service delivery – making it a vital catalyst for positive change in Staffordshire.

Healthwatch Staffordshire is part of Engaging Communities Staffordshire. Engaging Communities Staffordshire is a standalone, independent organisation that collects, analyses and acts upon service user feedback. It also carries out research and consultations on behalf of service providers and commissioners.

Robin Morrison, chair of Engaging Communities Staffordshire, and chief executive Jan Sensier, are passionate and eloquent commentators on issues relating to health and social care and consumer power. They are happy to contribute to any relevant articles and broadcasts. To arrange an interview, please call David Johnson at Shepherd PR on 01335 368020 or email