News

27.03.2018

Vulnerable patients in Hastings have their voices heard

Healthwatch East Sussex – your local independent watchdog publishes two reports today about the views and experiences of some of the most vulnerable patients in and around Hastings.

Healthwatch Staff, their volunteers and partners from the voluntary and community sector spent three weeks in Hastings in October 2017 talking to some of our most vulnerable residents about their views and experiences accessing health and care services.

The Hastings Listening Tour is part of a three-year programme of engagement designed to reach deeper into local communities to gather views and experiences from people it rarely hears from.

Vulnerable patients spoke about:

  • the difficulties they encounter accessing health and support services
  • the barriers to attending routine hospital appointments
  • the lack of clarity around the Special Patient Schemes

Where vulnerable people were receiving outreach support from organisations in Hastings and St Leonards, they reported better outcomes and experiences.

John Routledge, Director of Healthwatch says:

“We have demonstrated how we can reach deep into communities to gather the experiences and views of some of our most vulnerable residents.  I am really pleased the rich data and experiences we have gathered can be used by those who plan, pay for and provide local services to improve the health outcomes and experiences of people living on the margins of society.”

The report Listening to Hastings also highlights some of the wider issues members of the public shared with us for example:

People spoke positively about:

  • Pharmacy services, that included access to, advice and on-line repeat prescriptions
  • TEXT reminders for appointments
  • Staff across services are described as ‘helpful’ and ‘understanding’ by many
  • ‘Specialist services’ such as Multiple Sclerosis Nurse, Screening services and Diabetic services all received positive feedback from patients

    Not so positive conversations included:

  • Poor access to GPs and GP closures in Hastings
  • Long waiting times for hospital appointments
  • Access to mental health services including long referral times
  • Access to GP appointments for people who work outside the area
  • Access to GP appointments for those with mobility needs, small children and those using public transport

Further Listening Tour reports will be published over the next few weeks. In the meantime, Healthwatch East Sussex continues to use its influence to ensure the rich data we gather is shared appropriately with those who provide, plan and pay for local services and that recommendations made are followed up.

The Listening Tour independent evaluation and draft report were presented to the East Sussex Health and Well-being Board in December 2017. HWES has since been approached by Hastings and Rother (H&R) Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on how best to include the views of vulnerable people in future service design and delivery locally.

All Hastings Listening Tour reports and future updates are available on the Healthwatch East Sussex website : www.healthwatcheastsussex.co.uk/hastingslisteningtour/ together with plans for our next Listening Tour in The Havens in June 2018.

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