Understanding healthcare changes in your local area and how your voice matters
With the progress in health and care services, there are challenges which hospitals, GP and care services need to face. Not only that we are living longer, but there is a growing number of people who need help with long-term health conditions. Services are struggling to cope with the demand and the cost of care is increasing.
Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) were introduced in 2015 to address these issues and improve how the NHS and council-run care services work, but, are they are able to successfully meet people’s needs?
In January 2018, Healthwatch Northamptonshire and other Healthwatch across the country were invited to participate in the survey. The main idea was to find out whether services are successfully involving the public. The responses were gathered against Healthwatch England’s five things communities should be able to expect, which were included in both NHS England’s guidance on public engagement for STPs and the next steps on the NHS five year plan.
Around 40 of the 44 STP areas responded which clearly showed some good examples of community engagement working well. However, no area was following the guidance completely. According to our five principles for good engagement, here’s the Healthwatch advice for improvement:
Reasons for change need to be clearly set out so that everyone can understand why some things don’t work properly and what could be changed for the better.
Patient and the wider public active engagement
Whether it’s designing possible solutions to the challenges communities face, or just discussing them, the services need to be listening and acting accordingly.
STPs need to find out what people think and assess the impact
The public should be given enough time to consider the proposals and give feedback
While communication and engagement with communities is going well in some areas, more needs to be done to show that people’s feedback is valued and considered. Organisations need to show how they have considered the feedback they have received and the difference it made.