A NETWORK that aims to help improve health and social care for residents has officially relaunched as part of major health reforms.
Healthwatch Hartlepool has taken over from Hartlepool LINk and been given greater responsibilities as part of the Government’s NHS reform under the Health and Social Care Bill.
The groups are being introduced nationwide with the aim of helping people have a bigger say on how care services are delivered.
Labour group leader Christopher Akers-Belcher was the former Hartlepool LINk co-ordinator and is now Healthwatch manager.
He said: “Healthwatch Hartlepool provides a real opportunity to create an organisation that represents the views of all our residents.
“Building on the commitment and achievements of our members and staff, we will be working with our partners to help improve health and social care for the residents of Hartlepool.
“We want to create an organisation that really makes a difference to the quality of services provided.”
Under the new committee system, Coun Akers-Belcher will become leader of the council on May 6, but he said it won’t affect his role as Healthwatch manager. He said his position as chairman of the health and well being board, which brings together council and health chiefs, will be taken by fellow Labour councillor Carl Richardson.
Hartlepool LINk previously had more than 300 volunteer members and worked to improve local health and social care services. For more information or to get involved with HealthWatch Hartlepool, contact Christopher Akers-Belcher on (01429) 262641.