Summary of report content
Healthwatch within the Lancashire and South Cumbria area engaged with 969 people to gather their general views on the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP), and the views of those with specific conditions. This was carried out via two surveys and eight focus groups held across the area.
Three key themes were identified throughout the online survey engagement and the focus group sessions. Areas that the NHS could improve on going forward to engage with service users included: improved, sustainable travel, particularly for those in ‘hard to reach’ communities; improved communications across the NHS and Multi-Healthcare network to ensure that the service user does not have to relay their story at every appointment; improved waiting times and notice provided to the service user if an appointment has to be cancelled and re-arranged; and incorporating the provision of holistic alternative treatments, where applicable, instead of traditional routes. Areas that the NHS and Local Authority could work collaboratively on to enable service users to lead a healthier life included: providing easier, affordable access to gyms and exercise classes; easily accessible nutritional advice that are tailored to the individual; and providing workshops to service users on how to cook healthy, nutritious food on a budget. Preventative measures that could be taken to enable to service user to make healthier choices included: providing easy to understand nutritional advice that goes beyond the Eat Well plate, including vitamins and minerals and how they keep us healthy; access to support from healthcare professionals in a timely manner to avoid hospital admissions; and quicker access to mental health services for both children and adults. Key areas identified for improvement included: communication between hospital staff, as well as communication between the NHS and Social Care services.
Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS) responded to the report, highlighting that local Healthwatch will continue to support engagement with local people, ensuring they have contributed to the strategy for their integrated care system.