The Oxfordshire Rural Community Council (ORCC), a long established community development charity, had been the ‘host’ of the Oxfordshire Local Involvement Network for the 2 years before its abolition on 31st March 2013. Because of the success of the LINk during this period, Oxfordshire County Council turned to ORCC after it had decided not to award the contract to any of the organisations who bid for the Healthwatch Oxfordshire tender and has awarded ORCC a one year interim contract.
Since the County Council’s announcement, ORCC has had to work fast. It’s obviously important to ‘design’ Healthwatch Oxfordshire in a way that will do the job well and ORCC has drawn on ideas already discussed by people who took part in the County Council’s Healthwatch consultation last year. It has also looked at previous systems for public involvement in Health and Social Care to see what worked well and what didn’t. “None of our ideas about what Healthwatch Oxfordshire will look like are completely new” says Linda Watson, ORCC’s Chief Executive. “Instead, we have tried to take the best and most effective ideas from different places, so that we create a balanced system that will do the best possible job of feeding back the views of patients, services users and carers, and of the wider public, to service providers and financial decision‐makers”.
Who can be part of Healthwatch Oxfordshire?
The more people involved, of all ages, the better. So we will be asking for your help to spread the word about HWO and about how to join. We will be using all our own ORCC contacts and those of the former LINk, and will also be asking partners in other organisations and across different agencies to pass this newsletter on to their own members so that we widen the net as far as possible. If your organisation is willing to help spread the word, please let us know.
We would also be delighted if individuals would help by telling their friends and neighbours about Healthwatch Oxfordshire – you don’t have to be involved in an organisation to take part. We are aiming to reach as many people as we can as quickly as possible– and we will be working with the media on a campaign to tell people about HWO and how to join. Watch out for more information!
Who will choose the priorities for action?
We want you to tell us what you think is important – and that will inform the work plan for 2013/14. We will be holding a big event at the Kassam Stadium in the morning of 23 May so that the people who pay for and provide Health and Social Care in Oxfordshire can hear directly what YOU think should be the focus of HWO. The Director of Public Health, the Chief Executive of the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the Director of Social and Community Services at Oxfordshire County Council will all be there. These are the top decision‐makers and this will be a great chance to discuss priorities with them and their teams.
For more information please take a look at the following sites: