Over 30,000 people share their views on how to improve their local NHS - thank you!

From picnics in the park to campervans in the countryside – Healthwatch teams across the country have been using innovative ways to reach local people to find out what they would do to improve health services in their area.
A lady from Healthwatch Cornwall talking to a lady for feedback on the Long Term Plan

We want to say a massive thank you to the thousands of people who shared their views on how the NHS Long Term Plan should be implemented in their communities.

More than 30,000 people shared their views on-line about how the NHS can better support their overall health, and how it can improve care for specific conditions too.

Staff and volunteers from all 151 Healthwatch also ran over 500 focus groups in towns and cities across England from March to May this year, bringing together people from all sections of the community to share how they would improve local NHS services.

The different ways we got people talking

Healthwatch Southampton spoke to people at a local arts festival, which saw music, painting workshops, talks and poetry all used to engage people in health and wellbeing conversations.

Whilst Healthwatch Dorset went to a Picnic in the Park event at the seaside town of Swanage to capture the views of local families.

A classic VW campervan was hired by Healthwatch Gloucestershire and Healthwatch Somerset as part of their ‘Campervan & Comments Tour’ to reach as many people as possible in their rural areas.  In Somerset alone, the van visited 18 different locations and covered nearly 260 miles.

And in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, the Healthwatch teams worked together across the Integrated Care System to engage with a wide sector of the community.

They reached out to refugees, asylum seekers, veterans, prisoners, groups for older people, younger people, the deaf community, mental health and cancer support groups.

Focus groups were held to target people in communities who might not normally have the chance to have their say on the NHS, with young carers, people living with dementia and those experiencing mental health challenges getting involved.

What did people say?

Here are just four of the thousands of experiences and ideas people shared with us:

  1. More joined-up appointments
    A quadriplegic man from Bedfordshire spoke to us about having had 23 separate hospital appointments in the last year, many of which he feels could have been grouped together, if tests and scans were offered on the same day. 

Offering more joined up appointments for people in rural communities could really help people like me.
  1. Greater focus on prevention
    One woman from Southampton told us about the importance of prevention.

I think to help people live healthier lives we should focus the local NHS plan around the importance of education, especially around exercise and making people feel better about themselves.
  1. Help for teenagers
    And Dunstable teenager Ellie shared her views on how to improve the NHS for young people. 

I think we should focus on helping teenagers feel more comfortable. This could be done by ensuring doctors give friendly and informative advice during appointments with no judgement, no matter the issue.
— Ellie
  1. Giving people a greater say
    Former ambulance driver from Somerset told us he was pleased to see Healthwatch out engaging people.

Healthcare will only work if people get to have their say. By talking and listening to people who have been ill you get fantastic knowledge and feedback about health services, which we will all have to use at some stage in our lives.

​​​​​​What next?

The findings are now being analysed by local Healthwatch, who will share this feedback with local services to inform how the NHS Long Term Plan is implemented in their area. We’ll also publish a report in every area so you know how people would like their local NHS to improve support.

Share your thoughts

You can help make health and care services better by sharing your experiences and ideas. Talk to your local Healthwatch.

Find your nearest Healthwatch