What is Healthwatch?

Healthwatch are a  independent statutory body, meaning they have the power to make health and social care leaders listen to feedback and improve standards of care. Last year nationally, Healthwatch helped nearly a million people like you have their say and get the information and advice they need.  

Healthwatch Bracknell Forest are the local independent champion for people who use health and social care services in Bracknell Forest. We’re here to make sure that those running services, put people at the heart of care. One important way we do this is to ensure local voices are heard. We are looking for people with a desire to see better outcomes for people who use health and social care services.

What does the Advisory Group do? 

The Advisory Group plays a crucial role in our organization's operations by aligning with the strategic priorities that resonate with the residents of Bracknell Forest. They ensure that the issues and themes being addressed are in line with the concerns and needs of the local population. This approach ensures that the organisation remains relevant and focused on matters that truly matter to the community.

Additionally, the Advisory Group represents the interests of patients and service users in health and social care. By attending these meetings, they function as advocates, making sure that the voices of those directly impacted by healthcare and social services are heard and considered in decision-making processes. This involvement helps create a more patient-centred and community-focused approach to healthcare and social service delivery.

The regularity of the Advisory Group's meetings is set at every two months, which allows for consistent engagement and monitoring of the organisation's progress and priorities. However, attendance at other local strategic meetings is not as rigid and is based on individual members' availability, knowledge, and interests. This approach recognizes that different members may have varying expertise and passions, and it allows them to contribute in ways that align with their strengths.

Overall, the Advisory Group serves as a crucial link between the organization and the community it serves, ensuring that the organization remains responsive to the needs of residents and that their perspectives are well-represented in decision-making processes.


East Berkshire Advisory Group

Our Advisory Group members are responsible for setting our strategic priorities and supporting our decision making processes. They ensure that we are fulfilling our legal and statutory obligations.

Meet the Team

Dermot O’Brien

Dermot spent most of his career in West Drayton working as a community dentist for Hillingdon Health Authority.

His role was to provide care to those people who, for whatever reason, would have difficulty in obtaining dental care in general dental practice.

During his career, and after retirement he developed an interest in volunteering to provide dental care for Romanian orphans, and sponsoring a dentist in Burkina Faso, West Africa.  Up until last year he was also involved with the British charity Dentaid, originally set up to help to provide dental care in developing countries, but now has an important role in providing care to vulnerable people in the UK who cannot access NHS dentistry.

Kevin Barry

As a local authority social work practitioner, Kevin’s client group were adults with intellectual disabilities. He has also been a full-timer carer and has engaged with health and social service provision in Slough.

Kevin has experience in terms of statutory service delivery and is familiar with some of the real and perceived barriers people hold of the role of social workers and the assessment process.

He is passionate about ensuring that the citizen and patient voice is central to the planning, commissioning and delivery of services – and that they will meet the needs of a diverse community such as Slough.

Kevin is committed to supporting the reduction of inequalities and inequity within our health and social care systems throughout Slough.

Jane Figg

Jane runs a macular society support group in Bracknell that is highly valued by her local community. The group is a welcoming space for people to come together, build confidence and share their experience with others who understand what sight loss is like. As part of running this busy group she often hears about members difficult experiences with health or social care.

Jane also volunteers for Healthwatch and regularly puts us in touch with members who need extra support, information, or signposting. Because of Jane’s caring actions more people are able to share their experiences and services can learn from the challenges faced by local people with sensory impairments.

Umar Ansari

Umar is a Senior Project Manager at a regional health trust, specialising in the design and delivery of mental health services for adults and young people. He has extensive experience in coordinating multi-agency work across system partners with focus on better access to quality, patient-centred care.  

Prior to joining the NHS, Umar has 20+ years of experience designing, managing, and delivering international programmes and projects. Umar currently sits on the managerial board of one of the largest faith centres in the Thames Valley and is also involved in community development and support programmes. 

Umar is passionate about the concept of service change, whereby services are intelligently adapting and being responsive to the emerging needs of the changing demographic.  


East Berkshire Advisory Group Meeting Minutes 

Minutes 17 April 2023
Minutes 5th July 2023
Minutes 22nd November 2023

Our Advisory Group Policies

Conflicts Of Interest Policy
Conflicts Of Interest Policy - Easy Read
Decision Making Policies