Access to urgent care in West Norfolk - A Healthwatch Norfolk report
Access to urgent care in West Norfolk
Posted on 26/11/2014
This Healthwatch Norfolk report is the conclusion of a study based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn. Healthwatch researchers spoke to 556 patients to understand why and when they went to the hospital’s accident and emergency department and when they used other, community-based, services such as GPs or community pharmacies.
Drawing on the experiences of patients and the public Healthwatch Norfolk report highlights three areas which commissioners and providers could look at to help people access the right service at the right demand and to reduce the pressure on accident and emergency. These are:
Review and improve the accuracy and availability of information on the most appropriate services to access
Conduct a feasibility study on a Primary Care Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital similar to that that was piloted at the Norfolk and Norfolk and Norwich Hospital in 2013
Carry out a patient-centred review of the volume, location and accessibility of out-of-hours health care available to people in the West Norfolk area
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.”