Over the last year (April 2020 to March 2021), during the pandemic, 2,387 Somerset residents shared their feedback on the county’s health and social care services with Healthwatch Somerset or sought information and advice on how to access the care and support they needed.
In its latest Annual Report, Healthwatch Somerset explains how it worked throughout the year to understand people’s health and care needs, and how it used public feedback to help services respond and improve care for local people. The report also identifies the most common issues people raised, and outlines work planned for 2021-22.
The year in numbers
- In total, 2,387 people shared feedback or sought information about health and care services.
- 1,689 people shared their views and experiences of local health and social care.
- 698 people sought information, advice, and support on how to get the care they need.
- Healthwatch Somerset published 7 reports and made 25 recommendations for improvement to health and social care providers.
- The most common areas of comment and enquiry raised with Healthwatch Somerset last year were GP services (63%), dentistry (30%), Covid-19 (4%) and mental health (3%).
- 39 volunteers supported Healthwatch Somerset last year, giving up 250 hours of their time to engage with patients and the public, and to assess services.
Healthwatch Somerset reports published during the year
- Care home Enter and View reports x 3 (Sept 2020)
- Accessing health and social care during COVID-19: A Somerset perspective (Nov 2020)
- Access to primary care through GP surgeries in Somerset: What local people told us (Dec 2020)
- NHS 111 service: Public feedback from Somerset, Devon, Plymouth and Torbay (Jan 2021)
- The District Nursing Service: People’s Experiences of the Service in Somerset (June 2021)
Announcing the annual report, Judith Goodchild, Chair of the Healthwatch Somerset local Board, said: “This year, despite COVID-19, we delivered a full and impactful work programme. We adapted our plans so that we could support local people to get the information and care they needed, and we supported local health and care services by using public feedback to help them understand how to deliver effective care in such challenging circumstances. We were also able to carry out some of the projects that we had anticipated prior to COVID-19, using public feedback to guide improvements in Somerset’s NHS 111 service, to highlight issues with access to GP services, and to support the development of Somerset’s highly valued District Nursing Service.
“I would like to thank everyone who shared their views and experiences with us to help improve health care for local people. I would also like to applaud the dedication of Somerset’s health and care staff who have worked tirelessly to care for the public during COVID-19. We all need to continue working together as we move out of the pandemic, to ensure that the excellent work achieved this year, in tackling the virus and to provide quality care for local people, is enhanced by what patients and the public tell us they want and need.”
Healthwatch Somerset projects planned for 2021-22
- Improving access to primary care – focusing on GP services, NHS dentistry, and the digitalisation of services, including the barriers and inequalities created alongside the benefits.
- Young Listeners project – seeking children and young people’s views on how health and social care services could work better for them.
- Hospital discharge process for people with continuing care needs – evaluating the effectiveness of the process for discharging people into care homes or care at home (pathway 3).
- Waiting times from referral to treatment – exploring the impact of long waiting times on people’s lives.
Read the full Healthwatch Somerset Annual Report 2020-21 to find out more about their work during the past year, including findings and recommendations for changes to services.