HEALTHWATCH Staffordshire has backed calls in the Francis Report for patients to be given a much more powerful voice.
The watchdog group, which officially launches in April, supported recommendations that there should be a set of fundamental standards of care drawn up with the input of patients. It also backed the call for a strong national structure to deal with patient engagement.
Engaging Communities Staffordshire (ECS), an independent consumer champion set up last year to monitor service user feedback and carry out consultations across a range of services, runs Healthwatch Staffordshire.
Robin Morrison, chairman of ECS, said: “The Francis Report makes it absolutely clear that the people who actually use services should be given a powerful voice. When they complain, their complaints should not just be heard, they should be investigated and acted upon. The consequences of that not happening are potentially catastrophic, as the Francis Report has shown.
“Health providers need to know that an independent organisation is out and about in every community in Staffordshire – asking questions of patients and demanding answers of providers. And the public needs to know it is being represented by a professional organisation with structures, procedures and people that give them the power they deserve."
Healthwatch Staffordshire will be able to recommend improvements and providers will have to respond to the recommendations. All publicly-funded health services, including hospitals, GPs and dentists, will come under Healthwatch’s remit along with adult and children’s social services.