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Launch of Local Healthwatch

Healthwatch Dorset, the new local consumer champion for local health and social care, will launch on 2 April 2013.
 
Healthwatch will build on the work of LINks (Local Involvement Networks), which it replaces. It will be funded by Poole, Bournemouth and Dorset Councils.  It will enable people to share views about local health and social care services and will represent those views to commissioners and providers of services.  Its aim will be to secure the best health and social care services, shaped by local people’s needs and experiences.  It will also provide information and advice about local health and care services and how to access them.
 
Healthwatch Dorset will be delivered by a new partnership of three well-established local organisations -  Help and Care, Citizens’ Advice in Dorset and Dorset Race Equality Council. From 2 April, people will be able to contact Healthwatch in a number of different ways – in person at any Citizens’ Advice Bureau in Poole, Bournemouth and Dorset; via a telephone helpline number 0300 111 0102; through their new website www.healthwatchdorset.co.uk;  via email or post, regular e-mail newsletters and local events.  You will also be able to find them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

The launch of the new service means the current Healthpoint service will close after 24 years of providing health information to the residents of Dorset. The last day of operation for the current service, located in the Central Library, will be 28 March 2013.
 
Cllr Peter Adams, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Health and Social Care, Borough of Poole, said: “We welcome the launch of the new Healthwatch Dorset service as a positive step in helping people have a say on how local health and social care services are developed and delivered.”
 
“Healthpoint has played an important role in providing much needed information and advice on health and social care services across Dorset for many years and we would like to thank both the staff and service users for their support of this service. We are confident that Healthwatch Dorset will reach even more people in the future and continue to support people to access the services they need.”

A small kiosk will be provided in Poole Central  Library which will signpost people to the new Healthwatch service. The kiosk will have a telephone, allowing people to easily contact Healthwatch and will also direct people to face-to-face advice at the closest Citizens’ Advice Bureau.