Summary of report content
Healthwatch Worcestershire undertook a survey during the summer of 2019 to find out if people are aware of the screening and immunisations that they and their children may be entitled to, if they had taken these up and what their reason was if they had not. They received 482 responses to their survey.
47% of the respondents felt they were aware of the screening they were entitled to and 15% were not aware at all of their entitlement.
Most respondents had taken up the screening offered to them. However, 16% had not taken up screening they were entitled to. The main reasons they gave were lack of awareness or not being called, anxiety about the nature of the screening (mainly about cervical screening) and being too busy or having work or childcare commitments.
46% o people who took part in our survey had children under 18 and answered questions in relation to their awareness and uptake of screening for their children. Although the majority (67%) of parents and carers of under 18s felt that they are aware of the screening their child or children were entitled to, 19% were unsure and 14% said they had no awareness. 83% said that their children had taken up the opportunities available to them.
Only 38% of respondents were confident they knew what immunisations they were entitled to as adults and 19% were not aware at all of what they were entitled to.
While 70% of respondents told us that they had taken up the immunisations they were entitled to, 23% had not. Their reasons for not doing so were not being aware of their entitlement or not being given enough information, not feeling that they needed an immunisation or concerns about the effectiveness of the vaccine and being put off by perceived reaction to the immunisation or reports from others.
The majority (81%) of the parents and carers felt confident that they knew what immunisations their children were entitled to. However, discussion with parents suggests that this may often be due to receiving notifications that immunisations will be taking place, rather than an advanced awareness of what they might be entitled to. Nearly all the parents and carers (95%) we spoke to told us that their child or children had received the vaccinations they are entitled to.
Healthwatch Worcestershire received 30 responses from HMP Hewell, a male prison in Worcestershire. Responses showed a variation in awareness of both screening and immunisation entitlement. The responses were the same for both screening and immunisation. Only 8 people felt they were aware what they were entitled to, 13 said to some extent and 9 said not at all. Although 11 people reported not having immunisations and 8 not having had screening, the reasons given for not having them were all due to not knowing what they are entitled to.
There were a number of recommendations aimed at commissioners and providers of services in relation to:
- Increasing public awareness and understanding of screening and immunisation programmes
- Providing more flexible opportunities for screening appointments that can fit in with work and caring commitments.
- Collecting and collating data on take up of screening and immunisation broken down by protected characteristics in order to target promotion and take up initiatives.
- Providing more information for parents about screening and immunisation that takes place within schools
- Ensuring that systems are in place to follow up if a child is absent when screening or immunisation takes place and provide information for parents about the results of screening and any further action required.
- Ensuring that everyone receives a direct invitation or notification for immunisations they are entitled to.
- How to get messages to everyone in the most appropriate way about their entitlement to immunisations
- Ensuring that medical records have the correct data to identify those who require immunisation e.g. those with caring responsibilities.