People Tell Healthwatch What They Think About Phone, Video and Online Appointments During COVID-19

30 October 2020 11:25am

Latest news from colleagues at Healthwatch Shropshire. 

Healthwatch Shropshire, the local health and care consumer champion, asked patients and their families across Shropshire about their experiences of the new ways of attending health and social care appointments.

Based on what they were told Healthwatch Shropshire is calling on local health services to:

  • Inform the public that phone, video and on-line appointments are being used to triage patients and make sure people receive a face-to-face appointment if it is necessary and with the most appropriate professional, e.g. doctor, nurse, social worker.

  • Fully implement the NHS Accessible Information Standard to make sure the communication needs and preferences of all people and their carers are known, recorded, shared across services and acted upon.

  • Provide the public with clear information and instructions about how to set up and use the software needed to access video appointments and electronic consultations (e.g. e-Consult, the NHS App).

  • Provide training for professionals about how to manage a phone or video consultation/meeting to make sure people have the opportunity to share any concerns and ask questions.

  • Share the Healthwatch England guidance on ‘Getting the most out of the virtual health and care experience’ which gives tips for the public and professionals. The guidance is available here.

Lynn Cawley, Chief Officer of Healthwatch Shropshire, told us: "The changes that we have seen in the way patients attend some of their appointments because of Covid-19 are likely to be here to stay.

"We know that the NHS Long Term Plan commits to reducing face-to-face outpatient appointments by up to a third over the next five years.

"We are really grateful to all those who took the time to get in touch with us. It is our role to ensure that the patient voice is heard as the new systems are extended across health care.

"If anybody else has experiences, good or not so good, that they would like to share with us about this or indeed about any other of the new ways of working we are still very keen to hear from people.

"We are currently running surveys about the new hospital discharge service and also the out of hours palliative care people receive.

"People can contact us by phone on 01743 237884, message us via social media, WhatsApp or via our website www.healthwatchshropshire.co.uk."

The full report can be found here.

Healthwatch Shropshire is the independent consumer champion for health and social care in Shropshire. It gathers the views and experiences of patients, service users, carers, and the general public about services including hospitals, GPs, mental health services, community health services, pharmacists, opticians, residential care and children’s services. It also has statutory powers that it can use to influence service provision by encouraging improvements.