As part of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the Essex and Southend LINk (Local Improvement Network) will be replaced by a new body called Healthwatch
. This organisation will represent the needs and views of service users in the commissioning of health and social care services in Essex.
According to Local Healthwatch: A strong voice for people – the policy explained: "
Healthwatch will strengthen the collective voice of local people across both health and social care, influencing Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies – on which local commissioning decisions will be based – through its seat on every Statutory Health and Wellbeing Board."
A Healthwatch organisation is being established in every local authority area, with Essex identified by the Department of Health as a ‘pathfinder’. By April 2013, Healthwatch will be fully established as a statutory body.