To help the NHS meet the huge and growing demand for its services, it needs to give people greater control over their health and the way they access support.
And this is good news, because it’s what people want.
People have told Healthwatch that they want to help ease pressure on the NHS by taking more control of their health and care. To do this they want the NHS to get better at using technology, and at providing support that’s tailored to them as an individual.
Control is one of the major focuses of the NHS Long Term Plan. The plan, which sets out various ways the NHS needs to improve, will be used to inform changes to care delivered across the country.
Now local NHS services need to hear from people about how they want changes to look where they live.
In today’s digital society, more people want to be able to book an appointment online, see test results by email or talk to their GP over Skype. The NHS Long Term Plan aims to help make this happen.
“My GP surgery is really good and I always get to the see the nurse or on-call GP the same day when I have concerns over my children,” says Angela, a mum of two from Trowbridge.
“It would be good though to see better use made of the Internet for general enquiries or to make appointments for less urgent cases, cancel appointments and check test results,” she says.
Others want services to tailor care to the needs of the patient, and their family.
Maggie, a widow from Cornwall, spoke at a conference to encourage end of life health professionals to personalise care. Her husband John received largely good care during the months before his death, but Maggie wanted to share how his final weeks could have been better, for John and his family.
“You should be offered the option to be called when there is not very long to go, so that you have the choice of whether or not you want to be there with the person because that is then your choice. If they don't do that, the choice is taken away from you,” she says.