Delay in establishment of local Healthwatch

The government has announced a delay in the establishment of local Healthwatch bodies. The initial timetable had been to establish all local Healthwatch bodies by October this year. On Tuesday 3 January, however, the Department of Health announced that Following feedback from local authorities and Local Involvement Networks (LINks) they now have until April 2013 to work with local health experts and volunteers to establish the local Healthwatch.

That feedback has included criticism that current funding - both for existing LINks and pathfinder local Healthwatch bodies - is inadequate. The DH announcement was accompanied by a pledge that more than £370,000 is to made available until the end of the current financial year for the 75 pathfinders; and that an additional £3.2 million will be made available to local authorities to establish local Healthwatch within the new timetable. Split between the 75 pathfinders the current year figure of £370,000 amounts to £4,933 each. Complaints that the pathfinder organisations are not being properly funded are unlikely to go away...

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