A NEW health watchdog is encouraging residents to voice their opinions.

Healthwatch Halton wants to know what you think about the care you receive from your doctor, dentist, pharmacist, optician or hospital.

They also want to hear from you if you have any comments about care homes.

This independent, accountable team has been set up by the government to make sure your views are heard.

Volunteer director Michael Hodgkinson, a retired civil engineer from Higher Runcorn, said: “Our role is to give consumers a voice.

“We want people to talk to us about the treatment they have received.”

They can help you if you have any complaints.

Former Mayor Mike, who served as a Halton Lib Dem councillor for 26 years, said: “If people have any serious allegations, we have a direct link to the Care Quality Commission and they will investigate.

“We can also refer residents to an advocacy service.”

The team is currently carrying out a survey of local GP practices and the out of hours service.

Mike, who has two grown up daughters and five grandchildren, added: “We want to know what patients’ experiences are, if they are having any difficulty making appointments.

“We will pass on this information so services can be improved.”

They have the power to visit care homes. They can speak to staff, residents and relatives to find out about the service being provided.

They recently published a report on Halton View in Widnes, following an assessment.

You can contact Healthwatch Halton at Public Hall Street, Runcorn, call 0300 777 6543 or e-mail info@healthwatchhalton.co.uk.

To take part in the GP survey, visit healthwatchhalton.co.uk.