Message from Frances Hasler – Healthwatch Camden, Director

There is a real strength in being part of a network.

Locally, we’re part of the network of voluntary and community organisations in Camden. It has helped us to reach a really wide range of people. It has also helped us to find a new home – in September we are moving to Somers Town, where we’ll be based at the community centre and (from next year) at the new Living Centre. 

Outside Camden, we network with other local Healthwatch, supported by our national body, Healthwatch England. It helps all of us to find out how other places are tackling issues. It also helps us to work together on projects that cover more than one borough.

Our latest collaboration is on the North Central London (NCL) Sustainability and Transformation Plan. This brings together a network of providers and commissioners of health and social care services across the five NCL boroughs (Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey, Islington) to plan how services will develop over the next five years.

Part of the ambition is to improve everyone’s health, so that there are fewer preventable illnesses and early deaths. We are represented on the Transformation Programme Board by our Enfield colleague, Patricia Mecinska. This kind of networking enables us to spread our effort beyond Camden. We are looking forward to seeing more information on how people can get involved in the plan when it is published in September.

The Healthwatch network also helps us to judge how well we are doing – Healthwatch England has developed a set of quality standards for local Healthwatch. Healthwatch Camden has started to review ourselves against these standards, and over the next few months we will be asking lots of our contacts for their view of how well we are doing against the standards. We’ll be e-mailing people – please look out for the invitation to give us feedback.