Healthwatch Norfolk launches report on 999 ambulances
Healthwatch Norfolk has published the results of its survey into people’s attitudes to and experience of the 999 ambulance service in Norfolk. The survey was conducted in partnership with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust and 673 people from across Norfolk responded, 439 of them had had to call 999. The survey was conducted between June and September this year and was carried out online, in person and over the telephone to make it as easy as possible for people to respond.
Healthwatch Norfolk wanted to understand whether there had been a noticeable improvement in people’s experience of the 999 ambulance service following recent efforts by the Trust to increase capacity and tackle unacceptable waiting times.
What stands out most clearly from the report is the high-levels of trust, respect and satisfaction (90% of people were either satisfied or very satisfied) that people in Norfolk have for frontline ambulance staff. However, there were also some examples of real concern and dissatisfaction where people had direct experience waiting a long time for an ambulance after dialling 999.
The report the following specific recommendations for Ambulance Trust and others in the health care system:
Make sure that the public are consulted and involved around any future changes to emergency response times
Health and care professionals could do a better job of explaining different roles in the ambulance team and how they all play an important part in providing a high-quality efficient service
Health and care professionals could do more to explain to people when to dial 999 and when to use other services like NHS 111, GPs and community pharmacies. At the moment not everyone understands what is the best way to get help in different situations
Healthwatch Norfolk should repeat the survey in summer 2015
Healthwatch Norfolk has also produced a short video summarising the reports findings:
Anthony Marsh, chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: "I welcome this report and the results of this survey show how many patients value the service they receive from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, which is down to the commitment of our dedicated staff. We are working hard to improve responses and the standard of care by increasing the number of staff on the front-line. This year we have recruited more than 400 student paramedics and dozens of existing staff have joined training courses to learn new lifesaving skills. These improvements will help ensure the region has a first class ambulance service in years to come.”
Healthwatch Norfolk launches dementia report at AGM
At its first AGM on 22 September 2014, Healthwatch Norfolk launched its Experiences of Dementia Services in Norfolk. There are at least 13,000 people in Norfolk diagnosed with dementia and dementia is a priority area for Healthwatch Norfolk and Norfolk’s Health and Wellbeing Board. Healthwatch worked in detail with 63 people, both carers and people with dementia, to understand more about service provision in Norfolk – where it was good and where it needs to be improved. The report has already contributed to Norfolk's Dementia Health Needs Assessment.
The main themes identified in the report are:
Delayed diagnosis of dementia can result in a more rapid decline in health and wellbeing
Carers want more information at the point of diagnosis
Access to services varied greatly and not all dementia services are available on an equitable basis across Norfolk
Family (unpaid) carers provide the bulk of daily care and face practical problems and financial hardship
There is uncertainty on what services are there in an emergency for people with dementia
Carers have felt the impact of funding cuts on support services
The day-to-day experience of caring for someone with dementia can be difficult and carers would benefit from more advice on how to cope
The report makes a series of recommendations for commissioners of support services and for further Healthwatch Norfolk’s work on behalf of people with dementia and their carers. These include:
Commissioners to give careful consideration to the level and equity of support across Norfolk for people with dementia and their carers
Healthwatch Norfolk to undertake a programme of enter and view visits to residential homes for people with dementia
Healthwatch Norfolk to influence improved information and signposting for people with dementia and their carers
Healthwatch Norfolk Chief Executive, Alex Stewart, said:
“We need to get services for people with dementia and their carers right, especially in a county like Norfolk with an ageing population. We know that this is a real challenge but it is one we need to rise to. Healthwatch is committed to working with commissioners, providers and other groups to help make sure that services are as good as they can be. This report is part of our ongoing commitment to work on behalf of people with dementia.”