What would you do to improve services in North Central London?

This report outlines feedback from residents across North Central London (Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington) on what they would to do improve local services, to provide an evidence base for the NHS Long Term Plan.
Graphic image of a microscope

The NHS Long Term Plan, a ten-year plan created by NHS England, sets out a vision to make sure that health services are fit for purpose in the future. With growing pressure on the NHS: an ageing population, more people living with long-term conditions, and lifestyle choices affecting people’s health,changes are needed to make sure everybody gets the support they need.

During April and May 2019 Healthwatch Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington, using various approaches and surveys,engaged with over 1,000 residents about their experiences of health and care services and the potential future developments as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Key findings

Barnet

During April and May 2019 Healthwatch Barnet engaged 145 local residents in discussions about their experiences of health and care services and where investments should be made.

In addition to improved access, with 85% of votes, local people indicated that the following were also ‘very important’:

  • professionals that listen to me when I speak to them about my concerns
  • having the knowledge to help me do what I can to prevent ill health
  • easy access to appointments
  • for every interaction with health and care services to count; my time is valued

12% of people approached by Healthwatch Barnet reported that more integrated, personalised care would help them.

Local people who engaged in conversations with Healthwatch Barnet highlighted the need to improve communications and for clinical staff to provide more personalised care.

There was a recognition that breast cancer and cervical cancer screening receive a lot of publicity, but that bowel and prostate cancers screening is not as widely advertised or understood.

Local people suggested there is some confusion about:

  • ages at which screening for different types of cancer should be undertaken
  • whether regular screening is harmful

Proposals were made to improve uptake of cancer screenings in Barnet.

Analysis of feedback gathered outlines challenges faced by people with Learning Disabilities receiving consistently high quality of primary care in Barnet:

  • not all participants had been offered double appointments to discuss their healthcare needs
  • of the eleven attendees, four knew what an annual health check was and two had been offered one

People with Learning Disabilities in Barnet hardly receive information in Easy Read or using a language they can understand.

Camden

During April and May 2019 Healthwatch Camden engaged 130 local residents in conversations about their experiences of health and care services and where investments should be made.

In addition to improved access, with 94% of votes, local people indicated that the following were also ‘very important’:

  • professionals that listen to me when I speak to them about my concerns
  • easy access to appointments
  • having the knowledge to help me do what I can to prevent ill health
  • for every interaction with health and care services to count; my time is valued

26% of respondents also explained that access to affordable exercise and reliable information would help them live a healthy life.

Fifty people,who attended a focus group organised by Healthwatch Camden to listen to individual’s feedback on the NHS Long Term Plan, identified the following key issues with GP online:

  • equality of accessfor those who do not own a suitable device or have lower levels of computer literacy and
  • security of data

Providers must continue to address the issues of disparity in health care service provision and preventative health promotion to BAME communities at an earlier stage, providing quality advice on lifestyle changes and aftercare.

Enfield

Healthwatch Enfield engaged 426 local residents in discussions about their experiences of health and care services and where investments should be made.

Based on the data collected, funding should be committed to:

  • improving access to services (indicated by 33% of respondents)
  • improving care for those most vulnerable who may need it the most (indicated by 25% of respondents)
  • reviewing where the NHS spends its money and how efficient this is (indicated by 25% of respondents)

Analysis carried out suggest that people with Learning Disabilities, autism and other disabilities do not have access to universally-high-quality primary care services in the borough and that there are opportunities to improve all care services, particularly where access to services and awareness are concerned.

It should be noted that 65% of parents and carers of people with Learning Disabilities, autism and other disabilities (90) indicated they had limited or no support available to them.

Haringey

Healthwatch Haringey engaged with 71 Haringey residents in conversations about their experiences of health and care services and where investments should be made. Based on the data collected, their top three recommendations as to where funding should be committed to, were:

  • improving access to services (indicated by 29% of respondents)
  • reviewing where the NHS spends its money and how efficient this is (indicated by 26% of respondents)
  • improving the care for those most vulnerable who may need it the most (indicated by 22% of respondents)

Fourteen individuals who attended a focus group organised by Healthwatch Haringey, indicated that North London Partners in Health and Care should prioritise:

  • mental health services (including CAMHS) due to lack of local funding
  • care for adults with autism, including diagnosis
  • diagnosis for children with autism
  • moving more services into the community e.g. X-rays, blood tests and scans

They also highlighted the need for more joint working between the NHS and adult social care–particularly looking where ageing is concerned. Social care was recognised as playing an important role in helping to keep people safe and happy in their community.

Islington

Healthwatch Islington engaged with198 local residents about their experiences of health and care services and where investments should be made.

Of those who shared their feedback about primary care services in Islington, 23% respondents described a positive experience whilst 34% explained that they would improve access to their GP practice. 34% of respondents also suggested improvements in the care and/or services they receive from their GP. These included provision of blood tests, being able to see a named doctors and better training and awareness around issues faced by those with Learning Disabilities.

Of those who shared feedback on hospital services in Islington, 22% indicated that their experience has been a positive one.

Suggestions to improve the quality of hospital care included:

  • 35%indicated focus should be on improving information, reviewing discharge processes and providing training to staff ‘in empathy and sensitive topics’
  • 22% identified shorter waiting times for hospital appointments
  • 10% talked about shorter waiting times in A&E departments

Awareness of services available to people with dementia was low.Only one in three had heard of the Memory Clinic run by Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.

Feedback from local people suggests there seems to be a tendency for local people and their families to refuse support due to a general mistrust of the health service and a feeling that the services do not care for their needs.

Healthwatch organisations in Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington have collected an evidence base that should be utilised by North London Partners in Health and Care.

We are asking the leaders and decision makers across North London:

  • to consider feedback from local residents to prioritise service development and investment, as per the data collected
  • to involve local people in co-designing NHS services that work for them

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