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Health patients to take charge
Friday 8th March, 2013

Health patients to take charge
Sir Ian McCartney

A former Makerfield MP will take control of a new organisation charged with looking after the health needs of people in Wigan Borough.

Sir Ian McCartney has been appointed chair of Healthwatch Wigan, which will be launched on Monday 1st April. Run by patients, it will act as an independent watchdog with the power to influence how NHS and social care services are run in the borough.

Sir Ian, who was a minister in Tony Blairís government, will work with a board of trustees to ensure the publicís views on healthcare issues are heard and acted upon. His first task will be to recruit the board of nine trustees.

Sir Ian said: ďAs a patient of the NHS, Iím delighted to be involved with Healthwatch Wigan and hope to make a valuable contribution. Health services are vitally important and during my time as an MP, and as a minister, I was involved in a range of health care issues.

ďThis is a great opportunity to help shape the services many people in Wigan Borough rely upon. Too often in the past, people have complained the voice of patients is ignored when important decisions about the NHS or social care have been made. This is an opportunity to ensure peopleís views are heard loud and clear.

ďIíve no doubt we will assemble a talented board of trustees. Itís a big responsibility but Iím sure we will be able to find the right people. I encourage those members of the public with an interest in the delivery of health services in Wigan Borough to volunteer.Ē

Lord Peter Smith, Leader of Wigan Council, said: ďIím pleased someone of Sir Ianís standing is now involved with Healthwatch. Itís a great start to this new initiative. Securing such a strong leader as the voice for local healthcare is a positive step towards ensuring a health service relevant to the needs of Wigan Borough residents.

ďWith 23 years of experience as Makerfieldís MP, five years as a local councillor, and a further four years spent championing health matters as a minister, Sir Ianís knowledge of this area, and his passion for improving healthcare, make him the perfect candidate for the job.Ē

For more information about Healthwatch Wigan, including volunteering opportunities, please visit: www.healthwatchwigan.org

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