Summary of report contentHealthwatch Central Bedfordshire conducted a research as part of an outreach project ‘Just Ask 2014’ between March and October 2014. It explored local residents’ experience of accessing health and social care services, such as hospitals and GPs in their local area using a snapshot survey. The aim was to identify areas of good practice and highlight areas for improvement. 800 people were spoken to and 334 people completed the survey. The majority of participants were female and their ages ranged from 14 years to 95 years. All participants either resided or accessed services in Central Bedfordshire. The research found that most residents were satisfied with the services they received from their GP practice; 73% felt that their GP listened to their concerns and 8% felt their concerns were rarely listened to. 59% of residents felt that they were given enough information to make an informed decision, although 12% felt that they didn’t. Majority of residents cited frustration with trying to make an appointment by phone early in the morning and being told that all appointments had been allocated, although 67% stated that it was easy to get an appointment to see the GP. People who had experienced hospital services were satisfied with the service they had received. Majority of waiting times were within the targets. Those who had experienced longer wait would have liked to be informed to reduce anxiety levels. Positive comments regarding specific services were also received. 79% of the residents who accessed social care services found it ‘easy’ or ‘acceptable’ to access the care and support they needed, although 29% found it difficult to get this service. There is an indication that people are unaware of how to access the service initially and also that the services took time to be implemented. Healthwatch made several recommendations in the report including that additional research is carried out to determine why it is that the majority of people do not use the online booking system. HWCB would also recommend that all surgeries promote their online booking system and consider its future use for booking emergency appointments. Each surgery would benefit from more people booking online as this would ease pressure on telephone bookings. HWCB asked NHS England, Healthwatch England, Central Bedfordshire Council, Bedford Hospital NHS Trust, Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to give their response to the recommendations and their plan of action.
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Accessing Health and Social Care - The Public Opinion
Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire
Date of publication
Thursday, 12 March, 2015
Date evidence capture began
Sunday, 2 March, 2014
Date evidence capture finished
Thursday, 2 October, 2014
Type of report
Continuity of care
Health and safety
Healthwatch reference number
Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation?
Primary research method used
How was the information collected?
Primary care services
Out of hours
Secondary care services
Acute services with overnight beds
Number of people who shared their views
Does the information include public's views?
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views?
Does the information include staff's views?
Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report?
Does the information contain a response from a provider?
Is there evidence of impact in the report?
Is there evidence of impact external to the report?