Listening to rural communities in the High Weald

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch East Susses undertook a listening tour of the High Weald are of East Sussex in June 2019 to find out what people felt about health and social care provision.  They communicated with 10,000 people during the tour, including over 9,000 on-line through social media and 994 people face to face. 365 people also responded to their mini survey on the NHS and Adult Social Care, with 42 completing a more comprehensive set of questions.


  • People felt that the best thing about the NHS was that it was free and the worst thing was the waiting times.  They felt that one change that would improve it would be more staff and funding.
  • When asked about social care, over half of the people expected their family to care for them if they became frail or disabled and over 40% expected that their family would pay if they needed to live in a care home.
  • Prevention featured consistently in responses to how the NHS could save money.
  • The main services accessed by local people such as acute hospitals, local GPs, dentists and pharmacies were highly rated, with Pharmacies recording the most consistent positive responses overall. The local Community Hospitals at Crowborough and Uckfield were frequently mentioned as a ‘valued asset’ to the community. Not featuring so positively were access to Child Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), and some Adult mental health services, especially for people in crisis.
  • Adult Social Care received mixed responses, it was either ‘fantastic’ for some, or really disappointing for others. Where people and families had good interactions with social workers, it worked very well.
  • Communication or movements across geographical borders and different agencies featured quite strongly.
  • This report also includes a snapshot of people's experiences in accessing local NHS Dental services and Emergency Dental Services.
  • Local Pharmacies are identified as a valuable resource to the wider NHS system and Healthwatch can assist in promoting the use of consulting rooms.
There were no recommendations made, but Healthwatch East Sussex are intending to repeat the exercise in the summer of 2020 to review this report and to report back to local communities what has changed since this report.

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General details

Report title 
Listening to rural communities in the High Weald
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch East Sussex
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 12 February, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 June, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 30 June, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Quality of care
Quality of staffing
Staff levels
Waiting times and lists for treatment
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Engagement event
How was the information collected? 
Engagement Event
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
Community pharmacy
Dentist (non-hospital)
GP practice
Secondary care services 
Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
Accident & emergency
Mental health services 
Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Mental health crisis service
Social care services 
Adult social care
Urgent and emergency care services 
Accident & emergency
Ambulance services
NHS 111

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Not known
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Not applicable
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Not applicable
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not applicable

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.