Summary of report content
Healthwatch Staffordshire and Healthwatch Stoke-on-Trent gathered the views of their local communities surrounding health and care across the area. This engagement focused on topics related to the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) and views were gathered via surveys. In addition to this, two areas were identified which would benefit from further public feedback: young people and NHS in the care home. Feedback for these two areas was gathered through focus groups.
Through the surveys, people said that the most important things to them were that: they can access treatment when they want; and professionals listen to them when they talk about their concerns. Access and communication were common themes throughout this work.
Respondents expressed a desire to be involved in their own care and highlighted the need for better information provision and communication to facilitate this. Many were happy for this to be enabled by technology, although this did not suit all. Respondents said that as they get older, they wanted to be sure that their family would be helped to support them at the end of life and wanted to remain in their own home for as long as possible. To help them to remain independent, they wanted services to be accessible and transport links ample, especially in rural communities. Of those who answered the survey for those with specific health conditions, just under a third of them said that their initial attempts to access help met their needs and a quarter of them described their overall experience of getting help as positive.
In the focus groups, young people described some good experiences, such as the use of emergency services and the general care they had received. They also reflected wider concerns of society, such as long waiting times and poor communication. However, the nuances of this changed with this group. Many of the comments about waiting times related to accessing mental health services, others about getting appointments with their GP. Continuity of care was also highlighted as critically important for young people, with many describing difficulties communicating with staff in primary care. When talking about the NHS in care homes, people spoke positively about much of the care they received and how hard staff work. They appreciated things like dentist and GP visits. They expressed concern about accessing services such as physiotherapy and hearing specialists, and questioned why district nurses do not go into care homes. To improve things, they suggested staff training as a top priority and more supervision of care in homes by the NHS.
Healthwatch Staffordshire and Healthwatch Stoke-on-Trent made thirteen recommendations, and shared this report with the local STP Leads who responded positively.