Sharing your experiences with Healthwatch

(Last Updated On: October 26, 2018)

Each month, thousands of people share their experiences of health and social care support with Healthwatch .

To help NHS and social care staff understand what is working and what could be better when it comes to the support they provide, Healthwatch have looked at the views that 17,000 people shared between July and September 2018, a mix of both positive and negative comments, including key issues, such as getting a GP appointment or registering with a GP.

Messages for services: emerging issues in Healthwatch’s evidence

  1. GPs – people want to be kept informed

Poor communication between GPs and their patients leaves people feeling confused about what is happening with their care.

  1. Pharmacists – minimising issues with prescriptions

People tell us pharmacies provide good advice but issues with prescriptions can have a detrimental impact.

  1. A&E staff – the impact of misdiagnosis and poor communication

There have been situations where staff in A&E and on hospital wards have misdiagnosed patients with cancer or broken bones. Unfortunately, there can also be serious consequences, and we heard of two cases where people died because of delays to treatment.The impact of misdiagnosis can be made worse by poor communication. For example, people have told us that they struggle to access British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters even though this is a legal requirement.

  1. Mental health professionals – support in a crisis isn’t always adequate

People experiencing a mental health crisis have told us about not being able to access the support they need. Many have told us they turn to A&E for urgent care but some only receive treatment for their physical symptoms. They either didn’t get to see the mental health crisis team, or only had a ten-minute slot with staff because of busy caseloads

  1. Social care – help answering questions

More people and their loved ones are asking us for information about care at home to stay independent, finding a care home, as well as how to get funding support. There’s also been an increase in questions about how to access equipment, such as incontinence pads, wheelchairs, and home adjustments.

What are Healthwatch doing?

Using the feedback from thousands of people about their experiences of health and social care, we’ve shared this insight to help inform NHS England’s Long Term Plan. The plan will set out the future ambitions of the health service over the next decade.

Read our report to find out more about what people have told us, as well as how we’re tackling these issues in partnership with other organisations.


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Apart from five years studying in Oxford I’ve lived most of my life in London where for many years I was Head of English in a prestigious girls’ school, but since taking early retirement and heading West to be nearer to my two daughters - settling in Torbay with my wife, Anna, in 2011 - I’ve worked in the voluntary sector. I took on the role of Service Provider, for example, promoting the Red Cross Torbay Navigators Project, while now I’m a Trustee and part of the Media Team for our local Healthwatch. I’m a governor at Torquay Academy, too, giving me the chance to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of education. Other interests, aside from friends and family, include art and art history, reading - from contemporary fiction and poetry to Elizabethan/Jacobean literature - history, politics, cooking, walking, and music, in particular Bob Dylan, the blues, and early Elvis. I love writing, too, with one novel published so far – Elvis in Wonderland – and another, Who’s There?, that still needs plenty of work!