HAPIA, the ‘Healthwatch and Public Involvement Association’ is launched today to continue the national campaign to build  independent, powerful, community led organisations, which actively inspect, influence and challenge health, social care and public health services, to provide safe, effective and accessible care.

At the heart of HAPIA’s work, will be support for many of the recommendations of the Mid Staffs Inquiry, including the regulation of healthcare assistants, reform of the complaints system and the duty to tell patients the truth when errors have been made. HAPIA will campaign for health and social care services that are genuinely accountable to the public, and oppose chaotic reorganisations and tendering processes jeopardising the safety of services.

HAPIA welcomes membership from Local Healthwatch, its members and volunteers and all people and organisations who share our aims.

HAPIA will:

1)     Challenge Ministers and Regulators when lapses and failures occur.

2)     Support the development of systems, which enable users and carers to collaborate, criticize, comment, influence, challenge and advise health, social care and public health services on the best forms of care

3)     Advise on effective ways of learning from complaints, incidents, accidents and inquests.

Malcolm Alexander, Chair of NALM said: The public involvement movement has become too passive and processed. It is time for every care home, hospital and community health service to be held to account by Local Healthwatch and the local community for the safety, effectiveness and accessibility of their services. The voice of the public must be heard and people released from the fear that many experience when services fail or cause harm. That is the way of ensuring that the disasters of Mid Staff and Winterbourne View never happen again.

Ruth Marsden, Vice Chair of NALM, said: I would love to be out of a job, for that would mean that everyone had the best of care. Despite legislation, rhetoric and re-organisation, we are no nearer achieving that ‘best care’ for all. Centrally appointed bodies are always accountable to the centre, not to the public. This cannot go unchallenged.

Notes: 

1)    Malcolm Alexander can be contacted on: 0208 809 6551 or 07817505193 or NALM2008@aol.com

2)    Ruth Marsden can be contacted on: 01482 849 980 or 07807519933 or ruth@myford.karoo.co.uk

3)    NALM was the national organisation of Local Involvement Network members and was formed on April 1st 2009. NALM aimed to stimulate more powerful approaches to public and user involvement and build grass roots movements that can influence local and government policy on health and social care.

4)    Local Healthwatch (LHW) was set up by government from April 1st 2013 to be the voice of local people and to make sure that health and social care services are safe, effective and designed to meet the needs of patients, social care users and carers. It is intended to be a powerful and influential body, led by local people and able to influence and challenge the effectiveness of health and social care services and ensure that action is taken when services fail to meet local need.

5)    LHW has a legal duty to monitor services, obtaining the views of people about their experiences of care, make and recommendations about how services should be improved, to persons responsible for commissioning, providing, managing or scrutinising local care services.

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