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Your spotlight on local services

Review of Service User Experience, 2014-15


Recently, Healthwatch Waltham Forest reviewed its service user experience data for the year 1st April 2014 – 31st March 2015.

With some 21,419 issues identified overall, we looked in detail at the experience of GP’s, Dentists, Whipps Cross University Hospital, Community (Health and Mental Health) and Social Services.

1. GP Services

Overall Sentiment:
With over 10,000 issues analysed we found that sentiment around GP services overall has improved by 4% year-on-year, which is a welcome development. However, there are still major challenges to tackle, as detailed below.

Appointment Booking
According to comments, the ability to get appointments is the largest negative trend by far, with having to phone at a certain time, congested telephone lines, inability to get same day appointments or book in advance, and having to wait days or more to see a preferred GP all issues. There is much work to do, but we did find that sentiment has improved by 3% on the previous year.

Wait at Appointment
It would appear that sentiment is unchanged on issues such as waiting times, the waiting (including physical) environment, and privacy, which are all cited as issues.

Clinical Treatment
On the quality of treatment received, sentiment is broadly positive overall and we found an improvement of 5% year-on-year. We did detect negative trends on choice of GP and medication, and sentiment on user involvement is also marginally negative.

Staff Attitude
On customer service, comments suggest sentiment has improved by 11%, a double-digit move in the right direction. Sentiment about receptionists, clinicians and nurses is clearly positive, suggesting that staff morale is improving.

We found that sentiment has improved by 4% over the year, but clear negative trends persist on areas such as referrals, administrative errors and the ability to register at a GP of choice. There are also lesser, but still significant trends on getting repeat prescriptions and test results.

This is the only service aspect where sentiment has not improved, indeed we found a 7% decline year-on-year. Getting good, accurate advice and information is very important to patients, but around two thirds of comments received on communication are negative. View report.

2. Whipps Cross University Hospital

With just short of 10,000 issues analysed (including all PALS and Complaints cases) we discovered that 2014/15 has been a tough year for Whipps Cross Hospital, with major challenges to tackle.

Appointment Booking/Waiting Lists
Service accessibility is the single largest negative trend, as comments suggest waiting list and cancellation issues have more than doubled on the previous year. The ability to get in touch has also been a major issue, with almost 500 comments citing problems with reception telephones, leading to difficulty booking, or rescheduling appointments.

Administration is the second largest single trend and we have heard from many people who have received contradictory letters, attended appointments and later received did-not-attend notification and discharged, and have had other administrative related problems. It is notable that sentiment has declined by 7% year-on-year, and that over 500 issues have been detected.

Access to good advice and information is the third largest single trend and sentiment has slipped by a double-digit 11%. We have heard about patients not being notified about cancelled appointments, among other issues.

Nursing Care
Comments suggest sentiment on nursing care has declined by 3% year-on-year, with negative trends detected on quality of care including personal hygiene, nutrition and hydration. Carer and family involvement is also a negative issue.

Wait at Appointment
According to comments, sentiment on waiting times at appointments has improved by 6% year-on-year, so although still a major issue, there have been indications of improvement overall.

Staff Attitude
Comments suggest staff attitude has improved by 5% year-on-year, which is a welcome finding, with more positivity for receptionists, clinicians and nurses.

We found that sentiment on discharge has improved by 3%, however the timing of discharge is still an issue according to comments, with some patients not feeling ready to leave. Whipps Cross report available on request. View report.

3. Dentists

Having analysed almost 400 issues about dentists, we found that sentiment about most Practices is broadly positive, with some exceptions. View report.

4. Community Health Services

We analysed over 1,000 issues on Community Health services, and found that access to advice and information is a clear negative trend. Comments indicate that people don’t know which services exist, how to get access, and don’t have adequate information on personal entitlements and on eligibility. The next largest trend, and almost as big an issue, is waiting times at phlebotomy clinics, with waits of over an hour commonplace. Access to support is also a negative issue according to comments, while sentiment about staff attitude and is positive overall. View report (and annexes on Learning Disabilities and Autism, Phlebotomy, Mental Health and District Nursing/Health Visiting).

5. Social Care Services

With over 900 issues identified about Social Care services, we discovered clear positive trends on stimulation, user involvement, nutrition and staff attitude, with care home residents in particular feeling supported, valued, and able to exercise choice.

When analysing other social services, such as Care at Home (Domiciliary Care) and Social Work, we found that sentiment was more negative overall, particularly on issues such as advice and information, and on access to, or levels of support. View report.

What is Your Experience?

Healthwatch Waltham Forest analyses the experience of local health and social care services on an on-going basis. Tell us your story, good or bad, so that your voice helps to shape the overall picture. Every experience is important...

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