What people have told Healthwatch: A review of the last three months
Each month, thousands of people share their experiences of health and social care support with Local Healthwatch, so we help NHS and social care staff to understand what is working and what could be better when it comes to the support they provide.
You can find out what people told Healthwatch England between July and September 2018 about community services, hospital treatment, mental health support and social care services in their briefing.
You will see the emerging issues in their evidence across four areas of health and social care, how this is affecting people, as well as the steps we're taking to make a difference.
The emerging issues inform some key messages for services below;
1. GPs – people want to be kept informed
Poor communication between GPs and their patients, leave people feeling confused about what is happening with their care. This is an issue commonly raised by people waiting to see a specialist, and individuals who don't know what to expect about treatment.
2. Pharmacists - minimising issues with prescriptions
People tell us pharmacies provide good advice but issues with prescriptions can have a detrimental impact. Common problems include the wrong medication, delays when collecting, and repeat prescriptions suddenly being stopped.
3. 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. This resulted in people being seen by multiple services until they got the answers. 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 is 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.
4. 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. We've also heard of individuals who have been left unattended with their medication in A&E after taking an overdose.
5. 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.