Sir Robert Francis new Chair of Healthwatch England

Sir Robert Francis QC has been appointed as the new Chair of Healthwatch England.

Previously Sir Robert has chaired several high-profile inquiries into medical controversies and alongside his legal work became the President of the Patients Association in 2013, a non-executive board member of the Care Quality Commission in 2014 and in the same year chaired the NHS Freedom to Speak Up Review.

Sir Robert will formally take up his role with Healthwatch England from Monday 01 October, replacing Jane Mordue, who has been chair since December 2015.

Established in 2013, the Healthwatch network has gathered millions of people’s experiences of hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes to help services understand what they are doing well and where things need to improve.

With 152 local teams, supported by over 5,000 volunteers, Healthwatch has built links with communities’ right across the country and successfully established itself as integral part of the health and social care system.

The insights people share with us are used to shape change locally and nationally, including major policy decisions such as the Government’s impending green paper on social care and the development of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Sir Robert joins Healthwatch at a key moment for the health and care sector, and will ensure the views and ideas shared by people will sit at the very heart of the big decisions ahead.

Speaking about his appointment, Sir Robert Francis QC, commented:

“The Healthwatch network has done a fantastic job to date, in particular helping those who often struggle to be heard. This has influenced changes both big and small right across the country.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to amplify the voices of people who use the health and care system and to turn it into insight that will make a genuine difference where it matters most.”

David Blacklock CEO of Healthwatch Cumbria, speaking about Sir Robert’s appointment, commented:

‘’We welcome Sir Robert’s appointment and look forward to working closely with him in the coming years as we seek to shape and define people’s experiences of hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes and to further help service providers understand what they are doing well and where things need to improve across Cumbria.’’