The Liberal Democrat councillor for Barton and Watcombe, Swithin Long, has tabled a question for the Torbay Council meeting on 3rd April regarding a future Healthwatch contract. His question raises concerns that a future Devon-wide rather than Torbay-focussed contract could lead to a dilution in local services. Healthwatch is an independent body which monitors health services on behalf of the public.
Councillor Long’s question says:
"On 17th December 2018, the Elected Mayor took the decision to extend the existing Healthwatch contract with Healthwatch Torbay until March 2020. In the reasoning for the decision the Mayor indicated that in the future the longer term model might be for a Devon-wide contract.
Healthwatch Torbay provides services above and beyond the statutory services that they are required to provide. There are concerns that a Devon-wide Healthwatch contract might dilute those services to those statutory services which means Torbay residents would lose out.
What will the decision-making process be for awarding the post March 2020 Healthwatch contract, and how will councillors be involved in that decision?"
Commenting on his question Councillor Long said, “Concerns have been raised with me that a future Devon-wide Healthwatch could result in a contract that provides statutory services but does not provide extra services designed to cater for the local area. I hope that the answer to my question will reveal how a future decision on the contract will be reached and how councillors and residents can influence that decision.”