Local people share their views about how they want local health services to improve.

We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has shared their feedback with us about the local implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan.

We’ve been speaking to people throughout Somerset about how they would like to see the changes set out in the NHS Long Term Plan implemented.  The plan sets out a number of ways in which NHS care needs to improve, so local communities took the opportunity to have their say about what those changes should look like – both in person and via an online survey.

We’ve been to places such as Bridgwater Hospital, Frome Cattle Market, West Mendip Hospital, Richard Huish College in Taunton and Shepton Mallet market.

We will now share this feedback with local services to inform how the Long Term Plan is implemented in Somerset.

What did people say?

We asked people to share their views about how the NHS can better support their overall health, and how it can improve care for specific conditions too.

People spoke to us about how the NHS can give them more control of their care, help them to stay healthy, and provide better support.  They also shared their views about how the NHS can better support people affected by cancer, dementia, mental health, heart and lung conditions, learning disabilities and autism.

Healthwatch Somerset volunteer June Barnes said: “Most people seem to have real difficulty in accessing their GP practice for appointments.  This needs feeding into the NHS Long Term Plan as a matter of urgency.”

We also ran focus groups in Highbridge, Dulverton and Langport that allowed people to discuss what is good about NHS services in Somerset and what could be improved.  Mary, who lives in South Somerset and attended one of our focus groups told us that “as an older person I feel scared and vulnerable that the safety net of access into primary care isn’t there anymore.”

Mary would like to see more support offered by NHS England to GP surgeries, especially with the recruitment of medical staff.

We will be collating feedback such as Mary’s into a report and sharing this with Healthwatch England and other partners in early Summer.

Want to have your say?

Keep sharing your views with us on local health and social care services: call the team on 01278 264405, email info@healthwatchsomerset.co.uk