How can the NHS make support better for people with long-term health conditions?

One woman shares what she thinks would make care better for people with long-term health conditions, based on her experience of type 1 diabetes.
Woman in red coat speaking to another woman about her healthcare

Local NHS services need to decide what changes they’re going to make to achieve these aims, but first they need to hear from local people about what they think their community needs.

People like Heather, who told us what she thinks would make care better for people with long-term health conditions in Wiltshire.

Heather developed late onset type 1 diabetes when she was pregnant with her second child six years ago. She says she would like to see more money invested in GP surgeries to reduce the need for people with the condition to travel to visits in city hospitals.

“One of the issues for me as a diabetic is locality,” says Heather, 35, from Warminster in rural Wiltshire. “It is really helpful when we are able to get consultant appointments locally rather than travelling to the main city hospitals. More local appointments for long-term health sufferers would be great.

Don’t complain from the side-lines when you have been given a microphone to speak up and see change.

“For trips to the main hospitals, parking is a huge issue. You’re often unable to find any parking and so can be circling the hospital car parks for about 45 mins before you end up having to park in unmarked spaces, risking fines. The parking charges are also excessive for patients who have to visit regularly.”

Heather has a daily long-acting inulin treatment, as well as short acting insulin with every meal or snack. She sees a diabetic consultant every three months and a diabetic nurse every four months. She also has annual eye checks and an annual foot check.

She says: “Local GP care is also a major cause for concern. As a diabetic my hospital consultant has been amazing and the diabetic nurses from the main hospital are great but local care from my GP surgery has been difficult because they are so overstretched with so many patients needing care.

“Vital checks have been missed, I have had weeks at a time where I have been without critical medical provisions, which has created anxiety as I have been unable to treat or monitor my diabetes. This has been contributed to by pharmacy issues.”

“I would say to others that if you want to see improvements in your healthcare, be prepared to be part of the solution and share positively your experiences and suggestions. Don’t complain from the side-lines when you have been given a microphone to speak up and see change.”

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