Agenda item

Healthwatch Update

Verbal Update



Judy Robinson gave a verbal update from Healthwatch.  It was advised that over the last three months they had received 300 pieces of feedback from patients and communities.  Three areas were highlighted as part of the update.




The first area was around GP’s and a lot of the feedback was positive, with good quality prompt healthcare.




The second area was around a survey that was done around GP’s websites.  The survey was facilitated by staff and volunteers of Healthwatch.  As websites were important to the services it was critical to get them right.  The Board were advised of some key areas that needed improvement.


·       Websites were hard to navigate, and the information was poorly organised and was a put off to patients.  Easy read was needed for people where English was not their first language. The opportunity to use websites was not being realised and Healthwatch felt there needed to be a range of access to assist in cutting costs etc.  Better websites would mean people can get to what they wanted quicker.

·       Access to appointments – there was not any GP website with a text option and 19 GPs only had a phone number to make an appointment.  For people who were deaf and hard of hearing, not having a text option made it difficult.

·       How to register with a GP was a particular issue around equality to access.  46 practices mentioned the need to bring in ID or proof of address, 16 practices said it must be provided, but that was not the case, for refugees, homeless people, and travellers, this was a big problem and was not a requirement.  There was a big gap between what the NHS was recommending and what was actually happening on the ground.




The Board was advised that there were also some exemplary websites and these were all contained in the survey finding report.




Healthwatch were doing a piece of work with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals especially on the Long Covid Hub. The work is looking at people who were not accessing support for long covid. It was not being recognised.  There was a number of Speak Up grants for organisations to look at Long Covid within their communities and these had just gone out, so a future report would come to the Board.




The third item was around the cost of living, particularly around health.  It was found that the activities that keep people healthy such as attending the gym and exercise classes were dropping off as people could not afford to do it.  Healthwatch did some work with a group called CABS, who are taxi drivers, who worked long hours and did not have time to exercise.




The Board were advised that money worries have an impact on mental health, and this is known from the work that Citizens Advice do.  It was felt that improved communication and access would go along way and hope that the points raise would feed into the agenda later on.




Members of the Board thanked Healthwatch for the update and took the points onboard.  It was advised that more local arrangements with patients could be happening under the radar such as text services for patients who are deaf or hard of hearing, this was something that was put in place through covid with the patients they knew were deaf, however that would not help for new patients, so that point would be taken away. 




As Sheffield was a City of Sanctuary, the points raised around ID needed to be worked on to remove the barriers.  It was advised that a report would be brought back around Long Covid.




The Health and Wellbeing Board noted the update on the work of Healthwatch and would pick up on the points raised.