A NEW organisation designed to give people a stronger voice over health services has launched.

Healthwatch has come into being across England with the intention of giving people more opportunities to challenge and influence how health and social care services are planned and run.

They will also provide information about services and help people who want to make a complaint about NHS provision.

In Dorset, a new partnership between three organisations – Help and Care, Citizens Advice and Dorset Race Equality Council – has been chosen to deliver the new service across the county.

Mark Sharman, chief executive of Help and Care, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been selected by Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth Councils to deliver Healthwatch in this area.

“Our model for Healthwatch is based on having a strong network – of individual people and voluntary, statutory and private organisations who share an interest in the health and wellbeing of the people of Dorset and a passion for bringing about positive change.

“A key element of Healthwatch will be our ‘Healthwatch Champions’, an army of volunteers who want to make a difference to how local health and social care services are designed and run.”

To launch the network of champions, Healthwatch is hosting five events across the country on April 11, with the closest to Dorset being in Taunton.

Healthwatch is also welcoming applications for non-executive directors to its board.

For more details, visit healthwatchdorset.co.uk, call 0300 111 0102, or look the organisation up on Facebook and Twitter.