Worcester News Article – 7th February

Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust, attended our Public Board Meeting on 27th January to discuss the plans for reconfiguration of their services, including the relocation of some trauma services and planned surgery between the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch and the Worcestershire Royal Hospital. This enabled us and members of the public to ask questions about issues that have been raised with us, such as transport and travel to the different hospital sites and communication with patients and the public about changes.

Following our recent survey and engagement, we have now published our Digital Access to Healthcare Report, looking at people’s experiences of accessing health services and information online and having appointments remotely via telephone and video call. 712 people completed our survey, including 465 paper copies completed as part of our engagement and with help from local community groups and organisations.

We received some positive feedback about online access and having appointments remotely, in terms of convenience and saving time. However, 16% of the people who completed the survey did not use the internet and others told us about difficulties they have had using digital devices and online systems. Many people told us they would prefer face-to-face appointments with a GP, saying communications can be difficult by telephone or video call, as can having a private space to talk. Our findings suggest that using the internet and remote appointments could be especially difficult for older people, people with a learning disability, Autism, hearing or visual impairment, mental health or long-term health conditions, and those experiencing homelessness, on a lower income or for who English is not their first language. We have requested a response to the recommendations in the report from Worcestershire’s health services.

Over the last couple of weeks we have visited a Dementia Café in Worcester, the Ecumenical Centre in Redditch and the Asian Women’s Group at the Sandycroft Centre in Redditch. We also ran a focus group with residents at St Paul’s Hostel in Worcester, to gather their feedback about pharmacy services to feed into the Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment being carried out by Worcestershire County Council.

For more information, to read our reports or to share your experiences of local services, visit our website www.healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk or contact us – info@healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk / 01386 550264.