Around 300 stories each week reach the Croydon Healthwatch office, and thanks to the work of the Patient Experience Panel, their database now contains 10,000 items of processed intelligence. To mark this, Croydon Healthwatch are sharing some of the findings of this collective experience.
 
GP’s
The 3,674 comments in their database tell them that patient sentiment is positive overall, with compliments on the quality of treatment and customer service received. However, there is some negativity around appointment booking, with congested telephones and waits of days (or more) to see a GP of choice cited. 84 people say they don’t even have a named GP, perhaps this is a sign of things to come?
 
Hospital and Community Health
Of the 3,309 experiences recorded, Croydon Healthwatch are pleased to say that the majority have praised the customer service received. Indeed, it is good to see compassion, dignity and respect upheld by those everyone relies on. It is not all good news though, as 200 people complain about waiting lists and 214 have had trouble getting through on the phone. Although the service itself may be good, it is not always as responsive as everyone would like, and carers and family members would like to be involved more.
 
Mental Health
There is a perception, reflected in the news, that mental health services in particular are not adequately funded – this is borne out by long waiting lists. However, the 2,407 experiences in Croydon Healthwatch's  database are largely positive about the quality of service overall. That said, some people feel they are not being ‘listened to’, involved in decisions about them, or aware of what is in their care plan. 150 people also express anxiety about medication and its side effects.
 
Social Care
The 528 comments on the database suggest that residents are satisfied with services as a whole, particularly those in residential care. However,  Croydon Healthwatch are becoming increasingly aware of social isolation, with residents receiving home support voicing a ‘lack of stimulation and life quality’. The availability of information and advice may be a key problem, as many people say they are not aware of services and their entitlements.
 
You can download a booklet (click) containing a selection of the 10,000 stories on the database.

Why?

Croydon Healthwatch want to encourage residents and professionals alike to confide in them with their experiences – the more information they get, the sharper their focus will be.
 
If you have an interest in health and social care related issues, why not join the Patient Experience Panel?  Email darren.morgan@healthwatchcroydon.co.uk for more details.