Healthwatch is the lifeblood of the NHS. As the national and local independent consumer champion, Healthwatch brings democratic accountability to the NHS and care systems. It ensures that the voices of patients and populations are heard and acted upon at local level.
This is all the more important at this time of transition and change. Both the government and NHS have stated that services should be designed around patients, that more care should be provided outside hospital and that the focus should be on prevention, early intervention and the preservation of independence in the community.
Nowhere is this more relevant than in adult hearing services where demand is far outstripping the capacity of traditional services commissioning is failing to meet the needs of an ageing population or to achieve outcomes that are relevant to individuals stigma and local barriers prevent people accessing the care they need.
This joint National Community Hearing Association-BSHAA guidance sets out what local Healthwatch can do to ensure that local people are informed about the consequences of unsupported hearing loss, listened to when local adult hearing services are commissioned, not stigmatised by their hearing loss or inhibited from accessing effective services, be aware of the choices they have in terms of the care and support they receive.
There are a number of annexes to this document which can be found here: