Local Healthwatch organisations in North West London have shared their NHS Long Term Plan Engagement Report, which collected local responses to the NHS ten-year policy document from people in: Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Kensington and Chelsea, Hounslow, Westminster.
The views of local people were collected during April, May and June 2019, at 18 focus group events (two to three in each borough) and through a survey. The local engagement formed part of a nationwide Healthwatch strategy to gather feedback to the NHS Long Term plan, which proposed a number of new changes, accompanied by a Government pledge to invest £20bn a year in the NHS over the next decade.
Olivia Clymer, CEO at Healthwatch Central West London, comments:
“The NHS Long Term Plan outlines the strategy for delivering more integrated local health and social care services over the next ten years. The Healthwatch North West London engagement provided an opportunity for local people to make sure that their own needs were considered at the consultation stage of these policy changes.
“The responses that we have received are extremely useful to our ongoing work with North West London CCG, and highlight some of the key issues for our area, which we will continue to focus on as the Long Term Plan progresses. The diversity of the responses also serve to emphasise the importance of personalised care, and the importance of remaining mindful that there is no uniform response to health and social care. The report will now be shared with the Scrutiny Committee, and we will keep all of the respondents informed of the changes as and when they take place.”
What matters most to people in North West London?
1) Communication: respondents told Healthwatch that clear communication was vital, from the individual level (service to patient), to wider community outreach about available services.
2) Staffing and training: people were concerned about the available training on mental health and long term conditions. It was suggested that training be incentivised and made widely available.
3) Continuity: while many people are content to see a different health or care professional to reduce their waiting time, a significant number require a consistent, named contact.
4) Service access: better access to services and support in obtaining appointments, particularly GPs.
5) Coordination and consistency: people would also like better coordination between services both locally and regionally. For example, one patient experienced considerable delays with hospital discharge, as the hospital and community rehabilitation service were in different boroughs.
At least one focus group in each of the boroughs was dedicated towards a key area of concern for local residents: these group themes included mental health services, learning disabilities, children and young people, and user-friendly communications.
To read the full engagement report and its findings, click here to download a PDF document: