04:48PM, Tuesday 25 August 2020
Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead will be served by a joint healthwatch service from January.
Last year Slough Borough Council, the Royal Borough and Bracknell Forest Council decided to jointly commission a single local healthwatch service across East Berkshire when the current individual local authority contracts expire.
Help & Care, which currently provides the Healthwatch service in Slough, has been awarded the contract.
The three councils said this will help reduce duplication of resources and allow them to share intelligence about health and social care between the three boroughs.
The new service will be aligned with the NHS East Berkshire Clinical Commission Group (CCG) and will maintain local boards and a full-time member of staff within each of the three areas.
A statement said: "This new approach will help strengthen collaboration within East Berkshire, as well as build and develop relationships with local communities, focusing on neighbourhoods and engagement with a diverse range of local people."
The three areas will keep their separate identities as Healthwatch Bracknell Forest, Healthwatch Slough and Healthwatch Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead and retain individual work plans representing the demographical health needs of their distinctive local communities.
Mark Sharman, chief executive of Help & Care, said: "We're delighted to be appointed as the providers of Healthwatch Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead and Healthwatch Bracknell Forest, alongside our current work in Healthwatch Slough.
"We look forward to working with residents and healthcare providers across East Berkshire as well as current boards and volunteers."
The Healthwatch East Berkshire service delivered by Help & Care will commence on Monday, January 4. The contract will run for three years with the option to extend for a further two years.
Alan Sinclair, Slough Borough Council’s director of adults & communities, said: "We are really pleased to be working alongside our colleagues from Bracknell Forest Council and RBWM in awarding the contract to Help & Care. Healthwatch provides a critical voice for people who use health and social care services, which is an extremely important service for our residents."
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