Healthwatch Croydon is to be under new management from next week.
A Bournemouth-based firm, Help and Care, won a tender process held by Croydon Council and will run the health watchdog from April. The council has issued no official statement about the transfer.
Healthwatch, based in George Street, has a number of functions under the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, representing the interests of patients and ensuring that they receive the best possible care from the local NHS Trust.
Help and Care provides Healthwatch services in six areas including Dorset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Slough, West Sussex and Wokingham.
Healthwatch has struggled with funding issues over the past couple of years, losing key staff when the council reduced or was unable to guarantee its £200,000 annual budget. Under the terms of the changeover, the chief executive of Healthwatch Croydon, Jai Jayaraman, who has been in post since November 2016, will leave his job.
According to a statement issued by Healthwatch this week, “Croydon Council needed to renew the tender as this had run for four years without competitive bids. They stated in September that they were open to bids outside the borough, and Help and Care gained the highest score and so were awarded the tender.
“Help and Care will take over the running for Healthwatch services from April 1. Healthwatch Croydon Ltd (Company number 08429604) contract ends and the company and charity will be wound up.
“For the staff, Gordon Kay (Marketing and Communications Manager), Yinka Alowooja (Executive Assistant) and Robyn Bone (Volunteer and Engagement Officer) will be transferred to the new organisation. Reorganisation to reflect the needs of the new contract and Help and Care’s management is currently under discussion and should be confirmed by the end of April.”
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