Summary of report content
Healthwatch Milton Keynes facilitated two focus groups in September and November 2018 to investigate the experiences of people using gastro-related services and how the pathways could be improved. The first focus group involved 7 individuals with gastro-related illnesses and the second focus group involved sixteen individuals, two of which were nutritionists.
They found that communication between patients and staff was inadequate as participants reported that they found it difficult to understand their condition and problems arose when communicating between different departments. Participants also reported difficulties booking appointments as they were given appointments in hospital outside of Milton Keynes. Patients described a lack of continuity in the health professionals that they saw and that their appointments were not long enough to address their issues. The general consensus was that patients felt they had to 'project manage' their own condition and often had to persist to get check-up appointments.
Healthwatch Milton Keynes recommended that a follow-up appointment should be offered after diagnosis to clarify treatment options once the patient has processed the news. They also recommended that a nutritionist rather than a dietitian should educate the patient on practical ways to ensure nutritional requirements. Furthermore, it would be useful to see the same health professional to make full use of the appointment time.