Passionate about health and social care in Swindon? Then join our Board, says health watchdog

By Anita Jaynes on 8 July, 2014

A health watchdog which gives Swindon people a powerful voice in how health and social care services are run in the town is asking business people and locals to step up and join its Board.

As an independent organisation, Healthwatch Swindon allows local people to have their say. It represents people’s interest and acts as a channel for the views and experiences of health and social care services users, covering any area of health, from GP practices and dental surgeries, to the Great Western Hospital, and it can also support and advise people who’ve come across problems with their care provision.

Now Healthwatch Swindon, which marked its first anniversary this spring, is inviting Swindon people – including business people – who are passionate about health and social care to join the Board of Directors and help influence the level and design of care provision in the town.

Pete Rowe, Healthwatch Swindon manager, said: “In our first year 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. Already on the Board are Ben Curtis and Iain Watts.

Iain 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.”

Ben 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 currently 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, well-being and social care.

Anyone interested in joining the Board should email Pete for an information pack to pete.rowe@healthwatchswindon.org.uk. For further information about Healthwatch Swindon, please visit www.healthwatchswindon.org.uk.

Pictured above: Standing: Rossanne Hamilton & Jason Ferris Sitting: Pete Rowe & Jo Osorio