North Trafford Project: a report looking at inequalities in health service access in the north of the borough

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Trafford wanted to assess whether barriers to health and care services in North Trafford are specific to certain groups, and whether they are linked to factors such as deprivation. They heard from 147 people and professionals in the North Trafford borough about their experiences of health and care before and during the pandemic.

The findings showed a difference between before and after COVID-19 began. Before the pandemic, people were largely happy with access to health and care services in North Trafford and the quality of treatment/care once they received it. One area of concern was access to GP appointments. This included issues such as having to call very early, two-to three-week waiting times, and not wishing to give detail to receptionists.

Within specific groups, underlying issues such as language barriers, literacy, and access to technology were often overcome through face-to-face appointments and did not emerge as a major concern pre-pandemic.

After the pandemic began, people noted a sharp difference in access, as might be expected due to the changes required to improve safety. These changes included fewer face-to-face appointments and a shift to remote appointments by phone and video call, the cancellation of community support visits where possible, and hospital and other diagnostic sessions being delayed.

The shift to remote appointments and confusion over upcoming booked appointments caused a lot of anxiety for people. Within the specific groups Healthwatch Trafford heard from, language barriers became an increased challenge due the difficulty of communicating remotely and understanding the processes required to get advice and treatment through digital channels. Those not familiar with technology also struggled, and often the experiences of two groups overlapped. For example, Healthwatch Trafford heard from ethnic minority participants who expressed concern over using technology due to language barriers, as well as older people who said they did not know how to use smartphones or the internet to arrange appointments and access information.

Healthwatch Trafford make five recommendations in this report.

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General details

Report title 
North Trafford Project: a report looking at inequalities in health service access in the north of the borough
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Trafford
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 21 September, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 1 October, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Sunday, 28 February, 2021
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Continuity of care
Digitalisation of services
Health inequalities
Quality of appointment
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Waiting times and lists for treatment

Methodology and approach

Primary research method used 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
Dentist (non-hospital)
GP practice
Secondary care services 
Cancer services
Respiratory medicine
Mental health services 
Depression and anxiety service
Learning disability service

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
16-17 years
18-24 years
25-64 years
65-85 years
Asian / Asian British
Black/ African / Caribbean / Black British
Mixed / multiple ethnic groups
Other ethnic group
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include staff'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? 

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.