Residents will benefit from the support of a new local Healthwatch service which will run across three areas in East Berkshire from January 2021.
Registered charity Help & Care has been awarded a contract to run a local Healthwatch service across Bracknell Forest, Slough and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
A local Healthwatch service helps residents get the support they need from health and social care services, working with partners in local authorities and the health service to improve outcomes for residents.
In 2019, Slough Borough Council, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and Bracknell Forest Council made a joint decision to commission a single service across East Berkshire when the current contracts expire.
This is an exciting development and will allow for Bracknell Forest Council to provide a more effective and efficient service for local residents as the authorities will work closer together, ensuring valuable health and social care information is shared across the Integrated Care System (ICS) in the three areas. The move will also help to reduce overheads and duplication, ensuring value for money. The new service will also work closely with NHS East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Having successfully concluded a competitive tender process, Help & Care, which currently runs the Healthwatch service in Slough, has been awarded the contract across Bracknell Forest and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, as well as maintaining the Slough contract.
Cllr Dale Birch, Executive Member for Adult Services, Health and Housing, said:
“I’m pleased to welcome Help & Care to Bracknell Forest and look forward to working with them to make sure our residents continue to get the best health and wellbeing advice and support as we move towards a more integrated health and care system. Having one Healthwatch contract across East Berkshire, but retaining our individual identities, will further strengthen collaboration and learning between health and care services in the area.”
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.”
Each area’s Healthwatch service will maintain their separate identities: Healthwatch Slough, Healthwatch Bracknell Forest and Healthwatch Windsor Ascot and Maidenhead, and retain individual work plans representing the varying health needs and priorities of their local communities.
The new service will start on Monday, 4 January 2021.The contract will be for three years with the option to extend for a further 2 years.