In the past year Healthwatch Derbyshire has collected and recorded the views and experiences of more than 2,000 local residents about health and social care services across the county.

This is part of our remit to give local people a stronger voice in influencing how health and social care services are provided in Derbyshire.

The information relayed has helped us to shape our priorities for the coming year and where we need to focus our work.

The public’s views and experiences are fed back to those in charge of commissioning and providing health and social care services in Derbyshire as part of reports with further recommendations of improvements that are needed.

Our work is part of the wider Healthwatch England network and people across Derbyshire, and indeed the UK, collectively report that the top health and social care issues are:

  • Mental health services
  • Adult social care, including residential care homes or care at home
  • Service changes
  • Hospital care
  • Access to GP and dental services

It is no surprise that mental health is the top priority for the third year running with people raising this as an issue both in Derbyshire and across the UK.

Care and support available to children and young people was the most notable concern. The lack of mental health awareness, early intervention and difficulty accessing effective and appropriate support were also key themes.

Adult social care, particularly support for the elderly and their carers, has come a close second and follows our Enter and View work in care homes across the county and well as talking to people who care for relatives at home.

Third on the list are service changes, especially Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs), which aim to help make health and social care services more integrated and better at delivering tailored support.

With regards to hospital care, people told us that emergency care – getting to appointments and leaving hospital – can vary greatly. Specific reoccurring themes include discharge and emergency care.

With GP services, specific themes include access and extended hours. Poor access to primary care services has a knock-on effect as long waits to be seen by a doctor or dentist can prevent people from receiving the right diagnosis, treatment or referral to specialist services.

Having set our priorities, we need even more people to speak up about their experiences of health and social care services and share their ideas and views on these and other issues that affect you, a loved one or your community.

The more that people speak up about their care and treatment, the more services can understand their needs and ensure services are designed to meet them.

Healthwatch Derbyshire helps improve care by making sure services hear people’s views – what is working for you and what is not. As we approach the 70th birthday of the NHS, if anyone has a story they want to share or an idea they think might help, I urge them to get involved and talk to us.

 

© Healthwatch Derbyshire 2021

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