Brighton and Hove health watchdog given new three-year contract

Healthwatch Brighton and Hove is to have its contract renewed as the independent statutory health watchdog for Brighton and Hove.

Councillors voted to give the community interest company (CIC) a new three-year contract at a meeting at Hove Town Hall this afternoon (Tuesday 8 June).

Brighton and Hove City Council is required by law to have a “Healthwatch service” – to gather and champion the views of patients and those using health and social care services and identify areas for improvement. And it the provider has to be a social enterprise.

The council’s new Adult Social Care and Public Health Sub-Committee was told that Healthwatch Brighton and Hove CIC had had two extensions to its current contract which runs until the end of March next year.

The sub-committee considered whether to put the service out to tender, offer Healthwatch Brighton and Hove a grant or renewing the contract.

Labour councillor Theresa Fowler said that she wanted continuity of service, adding: “Healthwatch has done a fantastic job during the pandemic. As we’re coming out of the pandemic, it would not be good to risk a change of this kind.”

Green councillor Sue Shanks agreed but Conservative councillor Mary Mears voted to put the contract out to tender.

The council’s executive director for health and adult social care Rob Persey said that the government funded Healthwatch services through a grant.

A report to the sub-committee said that, in the past year, Healthwatch Brighton and Hove had reviewed 72 services, published 32 reports and engaged with 7,224 people in its reviews.

Last month, a Healthwatch report revealed that a 72-year-old woman had suffered from infections in her back teeth for two years but could not find an NHS dentist to treat her in Brighton and Hove.

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