A WATCHDOG boss who quit over “hostile” board members has praised the group in its first annual report.

Larry Sanders said Healthwatch Oxfordshire was standing up for patients and tackling difficult issues.

He quit last month after 10 months in the post because he said “hostility” from two board members “made it quite unpleasant”.

He praised the group in his foreword to its first annual report, for the 12 months from April 1, 2013, the start date for national Healthwatch groups.

The former Green Party member on Oxfordshire County Council wrote: “Healthwatch Oxfordshire is increasingly being recognised both as a reliable source of information and also of an effective and independent champion.”

He said it is “not afraid of challenging the status quo or tackling head-on some of the difficult health and social care issues facing people living in Oxfordshire”.

The group’s work include a patient survey on GP access, setting up representative groups for care homes and encouraging whistleblowers to come forward. It gave £30,770 to community projects from £347,137 total spending. This included £2,980 to Oxfordshire Family Support Network.

Board members started last August after delays.

The next month two quit over the role’s demands along with £40,000-a-year director Rosalind Pearce, who cited personal reasons.

Mr Sanders wrote: “It has certainly been a busy first year and not without its challenges.”

Our top stories: