Worcester News Article – 1st November

On 18th October we attended Worcestershire’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The function of Overview and Scrutiny is to ensure that people in Worcestershire receive the best possible services from the County Council and its partners, including the NHS, by monitoring the services and making recommendations on how they are provided.

One of the items for discussion at the meeting was access to GP services in Worcestershire and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is an issue we have received a great deal of feedback about over recent months, so we produced a summary of the feedback to discuss with the Committee.

Some of those who contacted us reported positive feedback about their GP practice – giving examples of efficient systems for booking appointments and accessing the practice and praise for the care received from practice staff. But the majority of those who contacted us raised issues and concerns about the service they had received. The main area for concern related to practice organisation and systems, in particular for making appointments. Many people told us it was difficult to see a GP face-to-face, took a long time to get through to their practice by phone and in some cases when they did, there were no appointments available. We heard about some of the difficulties people experienced with telephone consultations, getting to see the same or a named Doctor and communication with other health services. Some people told us they were unhappy about the quality of treatment or speed of diagnosis they had received.

Another issue on the Scrutiny Committee’s agenda was the planned changes to West Midlands Ambulance Service’s Community Ambulance Stations within Worcestershire, including the closure of those in Evesham and Malvern. Reassurance was provided that the plans will have a positive impact on the service and increase the amount of ambulance time available to respond to patients.

We also held a separate meeting with the new Chair of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, to discuss our role and continued engagement with the Committee, to ensure the involvement of patients and their voice in the scrutiny process.

To share your experiences of local health and social care services, in confidence, please visit our website www.healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk or contact us on 01386 550264 or info@healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk