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Key findings from Your health your care your say

  • listening exercise covered four regional events and a national summit
  • feedback included better access to GPs and more community care
  • changes included in the Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services White Paper.

The major listening exercise Your health, your care, your say took in five events across England and had a major influence on the Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services White Paper.

Meetings were held in Gateshead, Leicester, London and Plymouth followed by a national citizens' summit in Birmingham.

Two of the most notable messages which emerged from these events were that people wanted their local services to fit with their lives not the other way around, and for people's needs to be the most important factor.

Other key themes to emerge from the consultation process were:

  • letting people have more choice about when, where and how they can access services
  • developing and providing more services in, and so convenient to, the local community rather than only in hospitals
  • involving people in setting local priorities for health and social care services
  • investing in services for people whose health and well-being may be at greater risk, for example: pensioners, single parents, minority ethnic groups, teenagers and people on low incomes
  • ensuring greater focus on mental well-being, tackling loneliness, isolation and depression.

The Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services White Paper has been built around this feedback.

Your consultation feedback

An AHP's viewpoint

An AHPs viewpoint

  • Helen Dusting, radiographer Taunton

Helen Dusting, a radiographer at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, said one of the key themes to emerge was the difference between the needs of urban and rural communities.

The rural perspective on what is needed to improve the NHS is very different to inner cities, she said. At the moment everything is about bringing services closer to patients, which obviously differs as people are only a short distance from their local hospital in the city, but in the country this could be up to 15 miles.

Overall I was very impressed with how the event was organised and the cross-section of people who attended: everyone from young people to people in their nineties.

One of the main concerns people were keen to discuss was the issue of extending opening hours, which in the increasing 24-hour-a-day culture we live in is pretty much inevitable, said Helen.

Of course, this could have the effect that all AHPs will see themselves keeping their books open to 8pm or 9pm at night.

This flexibility is something the public needs, but of course with it comes concerns over how this will be staffed.

A nurse's viewpoint

A nurses viewpoint

  • Claire Capewell staff nurse, Birmingham

Among those attending the citizens summit in Birmingham was staff nurse Claire Capewell.

She said one of the most important themes emerging throughout the day was improving access to services within the community.

I always thought that things would move more towards the community I think it is a necessity for the future to ease the increasing pressure on hospitals, said Claire, who has worked in Birmingham Childrens Hospital for the past eight years.

For example, I work in a childrens cancer ward and we have already seen change in recent years where more and more patients are seen as outpatients to receive treatment.

I could see this moving more into the community where children wont even have to travel to hospital for their treatment. Of course there will be concerns from all sides about this but you have to think about the patient and their quality of life a child would be much better at home with their parents and siblings.

I thoroughly enjoyed the event. As I work in a hospital setting it was a good opportunity to move away from that and think about the community and myself in relation to the health service.

A GP's viewpoint

A GPs viewpoint

  • Carrie Shenton, GP Hadleigh

As a GP in the Suffolk town of Hadleigh, Carrie Shenton saw a number of positives emerge from the Birmingham citizens summit.

Above all was the strong feeling that one health professional needed to be a trusted co-ordinator of a persons healthcare.

The most positive thing that came out of it was that belief that people really value their relationship with their GP, she said.

We have to maintain that relationship with someone who has a perspective on the patients overall care.

Though she appreciated the need to respond to peoples wish for longer opening hours she felt that the pros and cons of this were not discussed with the voters at the summit.

She is hoping to see more focus in promoting healthy behaviour, which would prevent people from needing to visit primary care services such as GPs.

A social worker's viewpoint

A social workers viewpoint

  • Mark Evans, social care worker - Bristol

The huge variety of ideas which were discussed at the Birmingham citizens summit was exhausting but generally positive for Mark Evans, a social worker with a childrens services team in Bristol.

One of the best points which was raised by a lot of people was that young people, especially young men, tend to neglect their health and not visit a doctor, he said.

One idea to tackle this was a sort of MOT check which GPs would actively offer to these young people.

That one really stuck in my mind as a positive way of keeping people healthy and avoiding hospital visits.

He was impressed with the push for services to be more responsive to patients needs, and admitted it would be a challenge to keep the balance right.

We do all want more community-based services, longer GP opening hours and such like, but we also dont want to lose the hospitals.

Its important that patients get more input into their own care as long as, at some stage, there is a professional able to say: this is whats wrong with you and this is what we have to do to make you better.

Overall it was a positive experience to be involved in the consultation, even though there was so much to take in that by the end of the day I was exhausted!

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