What mat­ters most? Peo­ple’s ex­pe­ri­ences of NHS and So­cial Care

The Wokingham Paper - - HEALTH - with Nicola Strud­ley Nicola Strud­ley works two days a week as the man­ager for Health­watch Wok­ing­ham Bor­ough. Opin­ions ex­pressed in this blog are her own

SUC­CES­SIVE scan­dals in the NHS have shown the dan­gers that arise when ser­vices don’t lis­ten to pa­tients. With lo­cal ser­vices al­ready go­ing through rapid change, and fur­ther re­forms to be im­ple­mented, it has never been more im­por­tant for ser­vices to pay at­ten­tion to the peo­ple they serve and what mat­ters to them.

In his first an­nual re­port to Par­lia­ment as Chair of Health­watch, Sir Robert Fran­cis looks be­yond health and so­cial care per­for­mance statis­tics to ex­plore how peo­ple are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing care day-to-day across Eng­land. Draw­ing on ev­i­dence from 406,567 peo­ple, over the last year Health­watch has looked at what peo­ple are say­ing about GPs and com­mu­nity ser­vices, hos­pi­tals, so­cial care ser­vices and men­tal health sup­port, as well as is­sues that are com­mon to all four ar­eas of care.

It is be­com­ing clear that some peo­ple strug­gle to ac­cess the sup­port they need, with ser­vices not get­ting the ba­sics of care right e.g. care home res­i­dents not be­ing able to see an NHS den­tist. Is­sues like these re­quire the NHS and so­cial care sys­tem to be looked at as a whole rather than fo­cussing on the head­line tar­gets for in­di­vid­ual parts of the ser­vice.

The NHS’s as­pi­ra­tion to pro­vide care that is close to home, joined-up and tai­lored to meet our in­di­vid­ual needs, is right. But, with a com­pli­cated sys­tem al­ready fight­ing mul­ti­ple bat­tles, the jour­ney to this goal will be even harder if cit­i­zens’ voices are not heard.


Health­watch is do­ing its part.

Since 2014 we have cre­ated the health and so­cial care sec­tor’s sin­gle biggest source of user in­sight. En­cour­ag­ingly, those work­ing in health and so­cial care are also us­ing our in­sight more than ever be­fore, draw­ing on our ev­i­dence and call­ing on our ex­per­tise to en­gage with com­mu­ni­ties up and down the coun­try.

The Gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to in­vest bil­lions more in the NHS pro­vides a rare op­por­tu­nity to in­vest for the long-term in a build­ing a cul­ture where staff at all lev­els work in equal part­ner­ship with com­mu­ni­ties to shape the way ser­vices run.

Sir Robert Fran­cis said: “The Gov­ern­ment’s in­vest­ment of ex­tra bil­lions in our health ser­vice gives us a great op­por­tu­nity to think about how that money should be spent, and how we can track the im­pact of any changes to en­sure they de­liver the help peo­ple want and need.

“To do this, we want to see peo­ple’s ex­pe­ri­ences of care be­come part of the very DNA of the de­ci­sion­mak­ing pro­cesses through­out the NHS and so­cial care sec­tor.

“Lis­ten­ing to peo­ple and learn­ing from their sto­ries is the best way to get the bal­ance right, and to en­sure ser­vices have the ev­i­dence they need to shape care around the real-life needs of those they serve.”

Let Health­watch know your views. Get in touch:

Phone: 0118 418 1 418

Web­site: www.health­watch­wok­ing­ham.co.uk

App: Speak Up Wok­ing­ham (Free to down­load from Ap­ple or Google Play)

E-Mail: en­[email protected]­watch­wok­ing­ham.co.uk Face­book: @health­watch­wok­ing­ham

Twit­ter: @HWWok­ing­ham

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