22 March 2013

The independent chair of the new Healthwatch board in Northamptonshire has now been appointed.

Professor William Pope, currently chair of NHS Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes, will chair the local Healthwatch Board which is being set-up to oversee the strategic direction and priorities for a new organisation called Healthwatch Northamptonshire.

Healthwatch Northamptonshire will report to the new consumer champion for health and social care in the county and the national Care Quality Commission through Healthwatch England. It will bring together the views and experiences of Northamptonshire people to improve health and social care services as well as identifying priorities that are relevant to localities and looking at which groups and communities are not being heard and find ways for them to be represented.

The Board will provide its services through a social enterprise commissioned by Northamptonshire County Council as part of the government’s requirement for local Healthwatch organisations to be set up in each county by April 2013. They will replace the current system of local involvement networks (known as LINks).

The University of Northampton and the Northampton Volunteering Centre have together been commissioned to establish the Healthwatch Northamptonshire social enterprise. Professor Pope, as chair of the Healthwatch Board, will also chair the board of the new social enterprise.

Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for public health and adult social care, Councillor Robin Brown - who is also chair of the Health and Wellbeing board - said: "I am pleased to announce the appointment of Will Pope as the chair of the Healthwatch board.

"As a chairman of a local PCT he brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience of health and care services across Northamptonshire. He is also a chairman and board member of a number of charities and companies limited by guarantee. He and the board will develop the social enterprise Healthwatch Northamptonshire into an income generating organisation and one which champions the consumer voice across the localities and populations of Northamptonshire.

"The new Healthwatch chair will also be a critical friend to the Health and Wellbeing board, ensuring successful joined up working between the organisations."

Professor Pope said: "I am delighted to become chair of the Healthwatch Board and look forward to working with other board members to set the direction and priorities of the new Healthwatch Northamptonshire social enterprise.

"Healthwatch Northamptonshire will hold the NHS and local authorities to account for how effectively they plan and deliver public services and spend public money. It’s also an opportunity for local people to get more involved in shaping health and social services in Northamptonshire.

“My next step will be to select the other board members and get ready for our 1st April start date so that Healthwatch Northamptonshire can make sure everyone is getting the best out of their local health and social care services.”

Healthwatch Northamptonshire will cover a wide range of services provided by the public sector, by independent trusts or by voluntary or other contracted organisations delivering health and social care services. These include GPs, hospitals, council social care services, opticians, dentists, pharmacists, clinics, care homes, home care, children’s social care and more.