Read the latest HealthWatch newsletter:  Newsletter 116, Summer 2021

Our wonderful volunteer treasurer, Anne Raikes, is stepping down after many years of skilful and devoted service. Could YOU be our new Treasurer? No accountancy qualification is needed, just about one day a month to spare. Interested? Here is some more information to help you decide.

The role of HealthWatch Treasurer takes little time – you would simply need to draw up an up-to-date financial position prior to each committee meeting, create the annual accounts from the Excel records, submit the Gift Aid claim and update the details of trustees on the Charity Commission website. In total this involves about one day a month, with an extra day each year each for the accounts and gift aid returns.

Attendance at committee meetings (currently virtual) is not necessary but it does help you feel part of the team and is useful to know what is going on. The charity's income consists of membership subscriptions plus gift aid and donations. Outgoings are related to costs associated with the Annual General Meeting, producing 3 or 4 Newsletters each year, and of the occasional special event (a public debate or symposium).

Banking is online, and the work is straightforward and Excel-based. Our annual accounts are independently audited.

Another thing that simplifies the accounts considerably - this charity has no salaried staff. Like our Treasurer, all work is done by our fabulous and enthusiastic volunteers. 

If you are interested, please get in touch with HealthWatch's Secretary via our contact form.


This will start at approximately 7pm:


If you are attending in person, the venue has information about its Covid-19 precautions: How we are keeping you safe when you visit the RSM. This includes:

Although face coverings and social distancing are no longer mandatory, we will continue to keep certain safety measures in place and encourage our visitors to follow our guidance below.


Our staff will continue to wear masks in confined areas and where people may meet others, such as corridors and elevators, and we recommend our members/visitors do the same

Our staff will continue to wear masks when serving food and drinks


6.00 Reception and Drinks

7.00 Welcome by Nick Ross, President of HealthWatch

7.05 Annual General Meeting

(i) Minutes of the 2020 Annual General Meeting

(ii) Matters arising from the minutes

(iii) Chair’s report (Susan Bewley)

(iv) Membership report (Alan Henness)

(v) Treasurer’s report (Anne Raikes)

(vi) Election of Officers

Chair: Susan Bewley

Vice-Chair: Leeza Osipenko

Treasurer: TBA

Secretary: Roger Fisken

(vii) Election of Trustees:

Andrew Fulton, Sofia Hart, Alan Henness, John Illman, Keith Isaacson, James May, Tom Moberley, Philippa Pigache, Les Rose.

(viii) To confirm the co-option of:

Nathan Hodson and Jolene Galbreath

Student representatives: Robert Grant, Pavithran Maniam, Sylvester Odame-Amoabeng

(ix) Motion to amend the Constitution:

In paragraph 1 (and throughout), replace "HealthWatch" with "HealthSense UK", to become:

1. The Charity shall be called "HealthSense UK".

This change of name to be subject to the approval of the Charity Commission.

7.20 Presentation of Awards to Winners of the Student Prize Competition

7.40 Presentation of the HealthWatch Award for 2021: Prof Christina Pagel

8.15 Dinner

Remember that only members of HealthWatch present at the AGM can vote so please ensure your membership is up to date. If you have any questions about your membership status, please contact the Membership Secretary.

The current voting membership is 221 (see Membership Secretary's report), and the quorum for the AGM is one-twentieth of that, so the quorum is 12.

Since the motion is a motion to change the Constitution, it will require a two-thirds majority of those present and voting to pass, otherwise it will fall.


Minutes of the 2020 AGM

Chair's report

Membership Secretary's report

Treasurer's report



The Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday 06 October at the Royal Society of Medicine in London and both the AGM and award ceremonies will be streamed live on our youtube channel.

Please see our original announcement and the agenda announcement for full details.

Buffet dinner

We need to give the RSM the final numbers of those who would like the buffet dinner on Wednesday, so please place your order by filling in the payment form [now closed] before 3 pm on Wednesday 29 September. Bookings cannot be taken after that time.

The cost is £45.00 per person and payment can be made by Paypal, debit or credit card.


We are still looking for a new Treasurer to replace Anne so if you think this is something you'd like to do to help us, please contact the Secretary.

If you have any questions or would like any further information, please contact the Secretary, Roger Fisken.

06 OctoberAs previously announced, our AGM will be held Wednesday 06 October 2021 at 19:00 at the Royal Society of Medicine.

Live streaming

yt logo rgb light borderWe have managed to arrange for the meeting to be live-streamed and will be viewable on our youtube channel, technical difficulties permitting. Please visit our youtube channel at 19:00 to watch.


Submitted by the Committee to amend the Constitution:

In paragraph 1 (and throughout), replace "HealthWatch" with "HealthSense UK" to become:

1. The Charity shall be called "HealthSense UK"

This change of name to be subject to the approval of the Charity Commission.


The Committee started from the almost unanimously agreed point that it is necessary to disentangle ourselves from the behemoth that is Healthwatch England and its many local branches. Over an almost two-year set of internal discussions, with longlisting, shortlisting and voting had not produced clarity although some words were popular, and some ‘claiming of territory/eminence’ was liked but a return to campaigning against quackery also liked. We clarified that any new name, as well as having a 'brand vibe' that reflects what we are and what we do, should carry as low a risk as possible of being confused with another organisation.

In considering the best way to choose a new name for HealthWatch, the committee looked again at all of the suggestions made over recent months and also at names that emerged from a conversation with an interested observer who, a couple of years ago, looked at how we operate. We reviewed the words we like (‘evidence-based healthcare’, ‘campaign’) and some of the ‘status’ claims (foundation, institute, trust, etc) and what comes up when searching using these words. We thought about democratic processes, why we’ve been going in circles and the value of more voting.

It is also vital, of course, that a suitable domain name is available both for the website and social media to go with whatever we choose. Having done all this we decided that the best option, with committee assent, for a new name is:

HealthSense UK

The advantages of HealthSense UK, as we see it, are:

  • it retains ‘health’, with the use of 'sense' evoking notions of using all our senses (not merely ‘watching’), being sensible as well as critical thinking;
  • there would be a low impact on our current branding and, indeed, it would be easy to adapt our current logo for the new name. Alan Henness has already mocked up the way that this would look;
  • although many people have expressed the view that the new name should contain the word 'evidence', there are already many organisations that have 'evidence' in their titles, so this makes it something of a cliché. 'HealthSense' on the other hand, is a new word, more distinctive and resonates with what we are/were;
  • we could also continue to use the same strapline – being 'for science and integrity in healthcare';
  • crucially, a suitable domain name and Twitter account exist ( and @HealthSenseUK to match and @HealthWatchUK) and there is little serious competition.

Procedural notes

Since this motion amends the Constitution, paragraph 2 of the Constitution applies, inter alia:

The Constitution of HealthWatch may be amended as necessary by not less than two thirds of those present and voting at a properly constituted Annual or Special General Meeting of HealthWatch.

If the motion is passed, we still need to get approval from the Charity Commission. If that is not forthcoming, we will not be able to make the name change.

If the motion falls, or the Charity Commission refuses to agree the change, the name will remain as HealthWatch.

Committee notes

The Committee suggests that if anyone wishes to propose a different name that they submit an amendment to this motion rather than proposing a separate motion. This avoids a plethora of different and differently worded motions and ensures that the motion is phrased correctly and includes the necessary Charity Commission approval. Amendments will be voted on (requiring a simple majority) before the substantive motion is put (requiring a two-thirds majority).

A suggested form of words is:

Amendment to Committee motion

Delete 'HealthSense UK' and insert '<new name>'

In proposing a different new name, it is suggested the following are taken into consideration:

  1. Any new name should be sufficiently distinct from any current similar organisation. We have suggested the name change because of the confusion with the NHS Healthwatch organisations but there is no point in simply swapping one problem for a very slightly different one.
  2. We need to be able to find a suitable website domain name: this doesn't stop us changing our name but it is useful to have a domain name that corresponds with the new suggested name otherwise we simply create difficulties for those trying to find us and cause confusion with other organisations — the precise issue we are trying to resolve. If we were to decide on an organisation name and later find there is no clearly associated domain name, it will put us in an awkward position.
  3. There are similar considerations for a new Twitter handle (the @ name), which needs to be unique and also needs to be clear and obvious.

All motions and amendments should be sent to the Secretary. Our Constitution does not specify any timescales for these, but please try to submit them as soon as possible. Motions and amendments from the floor can also be made.

Note also that votes can only be taken from those present at the meeting. The Committee appreciates that the Constitution doesn't have much to say about how the AGM — and motions in particular — should be conducted and will be considering creating Standing Orders that will help guide us for future meetings.


Our esteemed treasurer, Anne Raikes, has decided to step down after many years of skilful and devoted service.

I'm sure everyone understands that we can't function effectively without a treasurer.

Do you, or someone you know, have the time to take on this task?

You don't need to be a qualified accountant and the job is not unduly onerous. As Anne describes it:

The role of treasurer takes little time – producing an up-to-date financial position prior to each committee meeting, creating the annual accounts from the Excel records, submitting the Gift Aid claim and updating the details of committee members on the Charity Commission website. In total this involves about one day a month with an extra day each on the accounts and gift aid.

If you think you might be able to help or wish to know more, please get in touch with the Secretary.

Notice is hereby given that the 2021 Annual General Meeting of HealthWatch will be held on:

Wednesday 06 October 2021 at 19:00

Note: we are using a new venue this year.

Venue: The Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, London W1G 0AE, in the Max Rayne Auditorium

The nearest Underground stations are Bond Street and Oxford Circus — see here for further travel details — and here for accessibility information.

Attendance at the HealthWatch AGM and presentations is free and open to all. If you would like to stay for the dinner, however, this must be pre-booked and paid for in advance — see below.

While all are welcome to attend the AGM, only members may vote.

2021 HealthWatch Award

This will be presented to Prof Christina Pagel, Professor of Operational Research, UCL:

Professor Pagel had a distinguished career as a mathematician in space physics before taking up an interest in operational research. She is Professor of Operational Research at UCL and director of the Clinical Operational Research Unit there.

In her own words, Prof Pagel’s "main interest is in using information to help people within the health service make better decisions" and she regularly appears on television and radio and in the press, giving clear explanations of complex ideas about medical matters, especially those related to the Covid-19 pandemic.


18:30 Registration in the Auchi Foyer.

19:00 Annual General meeting of HealthWatch (only members of HealthWatch may vote).

19:30 Presentation of awards to the winners of the 2021 Student Prize competition for critical analysis of clinical research protocols.

19:40 Presentation of the 2021 HealthWatch Award to Prof Christina Pagel (see above). This will be followed by a talk by Prof Pagel.

20:30 Buffet dinner (£45.00 per person) in the Max Rayne Foyer. To order your buffet dinner, please click here:

Book buffet dinner [now closed]

Nominations for Committee

Our constitution requires that nominations for officers and members of the committee should be submitted not less than 28 days before the AGM.

Any member of HealthWatch can nominate an officer or ordinary member for the committee. Nominations should be seconded by another member, accompanied by an email from the person nominated to state s/he accepts, and sent to the Secretary, Roger Fisken before Wednesday 08 September.

Motions to be proposed for discussion

Motions for discussion at the AGM should be sent to the Secretary, Roger Fisken before Wednesday 08 September.


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