Swindon business people are being invited to join the board of a watchdog group that gives a powerful voice to the town’s residents on how its health and social care services are run.
Healthwatch Swindon represents acts as a channel for the views and experiences of health and social care services users across all areas of health from GP practices and dental surgeries to the Great Western Hospital.
It can also support and advise people who have come across problems with their care provision.
Healthwatch Swindon, an independent organisation which marked its first anniversary this spring, wants anyone passionate about health and social care to join its board of directors and help influence the level and design of care provision in the town.
Healthwatch Swindon manager Pete Rowe said: “We have already made an impact and raised issues to local commissioners of health and social care services and service providers, and worked with NHS England to develop an effective patient participation model for GP surgeries.
“We really do make a difference, but we need the support of the local community to do so, this is why we’d like more people to join the board. They don’t need any health background, they just need to live in Swindon and want to make a difference.
“We are very keen for the board to reflect the diversity of Swindon, so would be delighted to hear from people from all sectors, ages, groups and ethnic backgrounds.”
The role of director is voluntary and involves a few hours each month plus a requirement to attend Swindon Council’s health quality committee meetings.
Director Iain Watts said: “I joined the board through the Zurich Community Trust as I was looking for a way to contribute to the community. I’ve found it very rewarding, and on a personal level now have a much greater understanding about health and social care services in Swindon.
“If people come up against difficulties and think nobody will listen, then they can come to Healthwatch Swindon, because we will.”
Pictured: Healthwatch Swindon staff Rossanne Hamilton and Jason Ferris (standing) with Pete Rowe & Jo Osorio
Fellow director Ben Curtis added: “Healthwatch Swindon is an excellent platform for giving the people of Swindon a voice, which is vital to help influence the design and delivery of health and social care services – not just for now but also for the future.”
Healthwatch Swindon is based in the Brunel Centre but will be moving to the new Swindon Advice and Support Centre (SAASC) which is opening in the former boys’ school in Sanford Street.
The SAASC will be a new facility providing assistance to residents and will be an information point for adult health, wellbeing and social care.
Anyone interested in joining the board should email Pete for an information pack at firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information about Healthwatch Swindon go to www.healthwatchswindon.org.uk