A NEW consumer champion for health and social care in Blackburn with Darwen will be officially launched next Wednesday.

Healthwatch, an independent watchdog, has been set up as part of the government’s NHS reforms to scrutinise services and help shape their delivery.

The launch at Blackburn Youth Zone will see the new organisation replace the old Local Involvement Network.

Joe Slater, chair of Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The only way health services will improve is through residents challenging us and telling us what they think.”

Coun Mohammed Khan, the borough council’s health and social care chief, said: “Healthwatch will be the main avenue for residents to get involved in shaping and influencing how health and social care is delivered in this borough.

“I hope it will also provide a strong independent voice that will guard patients’ interests and fight for them.

“I am looking forward to Healthwatch holding me and the services that I oversee to account.”