Watchdog has the potential to be a force for real change

Herald Series: Watchdog has the potential to be a force for real change Watchdog has the potential to be a force for real change

NEW patient watchdog Healthwatch Oxfordshire has finally revealed its plans for the next six months – more than half a year after the organisation was first set up.

The group has been beset with problems since Oxfordshire Rural Communities Council won the contract to run it one day before the April 1 deadline. In the last months we have seen a director and board members come and go, but now all the posts are filled and the organisation seems to have settled.

And we have to say we are impressed with the four areas the organisation has chosen to focus on.

Bringing residents and relatives together to form representation groups at Oxfordshire’s care homes seems such a good idea that you question why it isn’t in place already.

Surveying people about their experience at GP surgeries and the quality of home care to gather evidence to form policy is also a good idea.

Encouraging whistleblowing is the vaguest of the proposals, and trying to achieve this will really get to the heart of the problems facing Healthwatch Oxfordshire.

New director David Roulston said the watchdog will have teeth, but now the group, with its board made up of elected volunteers, needs to prove that’s the case.

It needs to convince people their concerns will be listened to and those in power will be held to account for failings. Healthwatch Oxfordshire has the power and potential to become a driving force to enact positive change in the county’s health and social care organisations and we hope this happens.

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