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Health meetings outcome: NHS patients want better communication
BETTER communication from the health services to its patients was highlighted as a key factor in improving NHS-users' experience in Bucks, according to the outcome of a series of meetings aiming to improve healthcare in the county.
Meetings were held in Marlow, Chesham, High Wycombe and Burnham throughout November as part of the Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Group bid to engage with residents and patients in the area.
The CCG is a group of 35 GP practices in Amersham, Wycombe, and across South Buckinghamshire, serving a population of more than 320,000, and managing a budget of £307 million.
More than 130 people attended overall to share their views about ways to improve the health services.
The talks focused on the NHS 111 non-emergency phone service, out-of-hours services and the Minor Illness and Injury Unit at Wycombe Hospital.
Dr Annet Gamell, Chief Clinical Officer at Chiltern CCG, said the issue which arose most was that of communication – over a variety of matters - to keep patients better informed both before and during any medical visits.
She said: "Communicating that the services are there (available to patients), what services are there, where they are, how you access them, what hours they are working, who are they staffed by, etc.
"And communication when people actually use the services – how long do they have to wait and what’s the outcome going to be? And then communication between the services so that they (patients) didn’t have to repeat their stories as they went from one service to another."
Dr Gamell said feedback from the meetings also bore out the CCG's strategy to improve the integration between 111, the out-of hours service and the MIIU at Wycombe, with the aim of giving patients a smoother and more efficient service.
She added that while always preferring more people to attend such meetings, there were enough people there for a robust, meaningful discussion on the services to take place.
But she also said she hoped more young people would attend future feedback meetings – more of which will be taking place next year.
As older residents tended to use health services more, it was natural they would be in greater attendance – but, she said, it was important younger people helped shape the future service.
"You think about these things when you use the service and by definition younger people tend not to be the bigger user group at present.
"But we need those generations to be engaged now. This will be the NHS they need when they are older."
The meetings, part of the national 'A Call to Action' initiative, set out to tackle four key questions: How can quality be improved? How can financial stability be improved? How can everyone’s healthcare needs be met? What can be done to build excellent services now and for future generations?
The CCG took over the duties of the now-abolished Primary Care Trust in April as part of Government reforms intended to put GPs in greater control of how funding is spent.
It carries out the high-level planning of health services and allocates funding for hospitals, mental health, rehabilitation, learning disability and most community services.
For more information go to www.chilternccg.nhs.uk
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