Local Healthwatch for Reading and Wokingham

Closed 6 Feb 2018

Opened 19 Dec 2017

Feedback updated 30 May 2019

We asked

From December 2017 to February 2018, the local authorities for Reading and for Wokingham consulted with residents about the possibility of commissioning a combined Reading and Wokingham Local Healthwatch service.

You said

Most people who responded to the consultation disagreed with the proposal to commission a combined Local Healthwatch service. However, in relation to most Local Healthwatch responsibilities, a majority of people felt there were more potential benefits than losses in having a single organisation deliver the Local Healthwatch functions across both boroughs. The one exception to this was the community engagement area, where most people felt moving to a single provider operating on a reduced budget would result in a lesser service.

A key issue which the consultation feedback demonstrated is that each borough needs to have its own Local Healthwatch service in order to maximise both public and volunteer engagement. This is not necessarily a barrier to a shared infrastructure, however, such as a single organisation trading as both Healthwatch Reading and Healthwatch Wokingham in different contexts.

We did

The Council is grateful to everyone who responded to this consultation. Reading Borough Council has re-commissioned Healthwatch Reading to continue to provide a Reading-only service.

Results updated 30 May 2019



Every local authority in England has a duty to put in place a local Healthwatch – an independent organisation which listens to people’s views and shares them with those who have the power to make local services better. Across Reading and Wokingham, local Healthwatches support people to get the best from services such as hospitals, pharmacies, social care, GP and dentistry services. They work with those who provide these services and those who plan and buy them.

All local Healthwatches have the same statutory duties, and there is a lot of overlap between the work of the Reading and Wokingham Healthwatch. Some of the services they look at are used by residents of both boroughs. Many services are planned across both areas, particularly as the Reading and Wokingham Clinical Commissioning Groups will be part of a Berkshire West merger plan. 

The local authorities in Reading and Wokingham are under extreme financial pressure as a result of cuts in Government funding. The authorities receive less funding from central  Government than they used to, and need to review how to meet their statutory responsibilities, including meeting  increasing demand for essential services for vulnerable children and adults.

Reading and Wokingham currently commission separate local Healthwatches.

The current budget for both Healthwatch Reading and Healthwatch Wokingham is £217,000 p.a. Bringing together the Reading and Wokingham Healthwatches offers opportunities to make some efficiency savings, whilst still keeping a service which meets statutory responsibilities, is accountable to both councils, and responds to the needs of both local populations. Taking this into account it is proposed that the budget for a combined Wokingham and Reading Healthwatch service would be in the region of £173,000.

Find out more information by clicking on the links below:

What is a Healthwatch?

Functions of a Local Healthwatch service

Why your views matter

We are seeking views from people who use health and social care services and other stakeholders to understand the likely impact of commissioning a single Local Healthwatch for Reading and Wokingham. The consultation is being conducted by Reading Borough Council on behalf of both councils involved.

This consultation will run from Tuesday 19th December 2017 to Tuesday 6th February 2018

We will be meeting with stakeholders in Reading on:

  •  15th January 2018 from 1:30pm to 3:30pm; and
  • 2nd February 2018 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm (as part of the Older People’s Working Group)

Both of these meetings will be in the Council Chamber at Plaza West, Bridge Street, Reading RG1 2LU.

We will be meeting with stakeholders in Wokingham on:

  • 18th January 2018 from 3:00pm to 5:00pm in the David Hicks Room, Council Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN

You do not need to register to attend the public events, but it helps us to plan if we know how many people to expect. Please contact us if you hope to attend, stating which event you are interested in: wellbeing.service@reading.gov.uk or on 0118 937 2383

There will be an additional event for potential providers of the new service to pose more technical questions on

  • 25th January 2018 from 10:00am to 12:00pm at the Wokingham Council office.  Providers will need to book their place for this event by contacting Sarah Salter Sarah.Salter@wokingham.gov.uk

Please contact us:

  • If you have any queries
  • You would like to receive a hard copy of the consultation questionnaire
  • You require additional support to understand or complete the questionnaire

If you prefer you can write to us to let us know your comments:

Wellbeing Team, Level 2, Civic Centre, Reading RG1 2LU

What happens next

The Council is grateful to everyone who responded to this consultation. Some of the feedback was quite detailed and we are keen to ensure we analyse this fully as part of planning for future Local Healthwatch arrangements in Reading. In the meantime, Reading Borough Council has re-commissioned Healthwatch Reading to continue to provide a Reading-only service.






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