Read the latest HealthWatch newsletter:  Newsletter 116, Summer 2021

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.


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