Summary of report content
Healthwatch Cheshire East undertook research to get people’s views on the draft Cheshire East Five-Year Plan to define a health and wellbeing strategy for Cheshire East. The research involved a survey of 272 people and a workshop with 15 people.
- Many respondents felt that the plan did identify key issues facing health and care services in Cheshire East.
- Some respondents felt that missing from the plan was a focus on accessibility; being able to access GP appointments which have long waiting times and being offered appointments that are local and easily accessible rather than having to travel long distances.
- It was felt that key to delivering this vision was to ensure staffing levels and funding were implemented to reflect this.
- A number of comments related to the importance of an integrated approach to health and care provision, ensuring a focus on more person-centred support.
- A number of comments reflected the need to address infrastructure, including services that support new housing schemes, and better transport links to enable easier service access, particularly in rural communities.
- Looking at effective ways to communicate with the broader population was seen to be missing, including the use of technology, but also looking at promoting and communicating services to those who do not use technology. This also covers communication between health and care professionals and services, the communication between staff and people, and an increase in the promotion of services and support available.
- Some people felt that the plan did not identify key issues and that it focused on national issues relating to health and social care rather than those specifically pertinent to Cheshire East.
- Some comments suggested the plan reflected NHS and Local Authority priorities rather than the views of local people and was lacking in an implementation plan.
Early intervention and prevention
Early intervention and prevention were seen as important to preventing long-term ill health, including focusing on self-care, smoking, obesity and more mental health support. It was felt that the importance of exercise was missing from the Plan, including access to gyms and community fitness programmes.
- Many people discussed the need for greater support for mental health conditions. Comments called for increased support for specific issues and conditions such as falls, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia.
- A large number of respondents (75 in total) referred to the provision of breastfeeding support and a healthy start for children. Although the Plan reflects the need to give children the best start in life, it was felt that it does not reflect the importance of breastfeeding and breastfeeding support.
- People told us that health and wellbeing in Cheshire East could be improved with increased funding in areas such as primary care, speech and language, and social care.
- There were a number of respondents commenting on the issue of social isolation and that there should be a greater focus on this in the plan, particularly in relation to the elderly.