Summary of report content
The aim of the research was to obtain views and experiences of south east London residents to support local implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan. This was part of the network-wide NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) project. The research was carried out across south east London, including the London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark. Each local Healthwatch carried out individual engagement in their own borough. A two-pronged approach of surveys and focus groups was used to gather feedback. In relation to surveys, a specific conditions survey and a general survey were carried out. They engaged with 997 people.
South east London residents were asked what would help live a healthier life. Overall, residents were aware that they should eat healthily and take regular exercise, but felt that access to clean green spaces, monetary constraints and busy lifestyles were barriers to making this a reality. It was also paramount to residents that the link between mental and physical health is made to help them live a healthy life. In addition, South east London residents were asked what would help them manage and choose support. Once again, residents highlighted the need to be able to access local services in a timely manner. This is a clear priority throughout the region. Early access and prevention was a significant theme for those with lived experience of mental health issues and parents/carers. Barriers to early access to services included individuals acknowledging they made need help, fear of the possibility of being sectioned after asking for help, carers not being included in decisions, not being listened to, a lack of face to face assessments and poor communication between departments.
Six recommendations were made about the following topics: getting the best start to life, young people's mental health, daytime hospital appointments, accessing care, social isolation and charities, and services working together. This report contains a response from Our Healthier South East London.