Summary of report content
This report is the second part of Healthwatch Norfolk’s research into the working relationships between health and social care services. The first part focussed on General Practice from the perspective of both professionals and patients. This part looks at other services experience of working with General Practice. The research is based on one-to-one interviews with 31 members of staff across six NHS provider organisations in Norfolk.
Since this work involved a range of organisations, staff described a mixed picture of the working relationships between services which was shaped by each organisations’ viewpoint and priorities, leading to few key themes common to all services. One key theme established was the ongoing issue of ineffective communication between the IT systems used by health and social care services. Overall most services believed they had good working relationships with General Practice, but they were not as strong as they once were. Staff highlighted that communication with General Practice proved challenging, as a busy GP practice can be difficult to contact. Concerns about GP ‘out of hours’ services were also raised, due to a lack of patient information on who to contact outside of office hours.
Mental health services described the need to work more closely with General Practice, to reduce inappropriate referrals. The staff interviews indicated that all services are under increasing pressure, demands are high and patients’ expectations are rising. In general, staff perceived services could be improved by more joint working across the health and social care system.
There was one recommendation about the need to co-ordinate IT systems in Norfolk across health services.