To receive an update on the work of Healthwatch Wokingham Borough.
The Committee received an update on the work of Healthwatch Wokingham Borough.
During the discussion of this item, the following points were made:
· Jo Dixon introduced the report on perinatal services. The Committee asked that this report be resent to Members and considered at a future meeting.
· With regards to the Healthwatch Covid 19 – people’s experiences of Health and Care services and accessing information survey, Councillor Jones questioned how Healthwatch selected who completed the survey. Jo Dixon indicated that the survey had been publicised on Healthwatch’s website and social media and that no specific groups had been targeted.
· Councillor Jones noted that 30% of those who responded had indicated that they had decided not to use NHS and health and care services during lock down, and questioned how many people this equated to. Nick Durman indicated that it was 30% of 178 responders.
· Nick Durman informed Members that he and representatives from the Reading and West Berkshire Healthwatches had presented the findings to the united Executive. Nearly 700 responses had been received in total between the three.
· Nick Durman stated that he had been informed by the Flu Group that a high percentage of people with a high BMI were choosing not to take up their flu jabs. Many people had concerns about attending health care facilities during the pandemic. Targeted communications was needed to ensure that people felt safe to attend to take up their flu jab.
· Councillor Jones felt that it was positive that 61% of responders had said that they would be happy to have a video appointment again. He questioned whether the video appointments saved time for the clinicians. Nick Durman stated that many people had found it a positive experience but some had experienced technical difficulties.
· Councillor Jones questioned whether the response ‘I have had ups and downs’ to the question about the responder’s mental wellbeing, meant that the person usually had ups and downs but that it was worse during the pandemic. Nick Durman felt that it could be read either way.
· Members discussed CAMHS and waiting lists for the services. Jo Dixon indicated that service users had indicated that wait times had increased and that Healthwatch had recently been informed by some parents that the service was no longer accepting new referrals, however, this was yet to be confirmed. Councillor Loyes suggested raising the matter with the relevant Director and Executive Member.
· Members expressed disappointment that some residents had had to ask their surgery repeatedly for a shielding letter.
· Councillor Bishop Firth asked about what type of fears people had about accessing health and social care services during the pandemic.
· Members were pleased to see a large number of positive comments from responders.
· Councillor Jones expressed concern that some GP surgery websites did not have information about wearing masks, whether patients could be accompanied and where they would be waiting prior to their appointment.
· Nick Durman stated that he was meeting with the CCG regarding the GP Patient Survey results. Some surgeries had performed less well in some of the questions. It was suggested that the Committee ask the CCG how they would be addressing this. There was no obligation for individual surgeries to publish the results of the survey on their website.
· Members referred to a briefing which outlined how the Committee could help support Healthwatch. Councillor Jones suggested sharing reports on Facebook and Councillor Frewin suggested sending the reports to all other Members. Jim Stockley commented that once the reports had been critiqued by the relevant service providers they could be published and publicised further.
· Nick Durman suggested that if Healthwatch did not receive a response from a particular service provider to their recommendations, the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee seek an update.
· Councillor Jones commented that he appreciated the independence of Healthwatch and agreed that it was important to highlight that it was a statutory body and not a voluntary organisation.
· Councillor Mather suggested that Healthwatch produce a report on the top ten outstanding actions or hot topics. Jo Dixon commented that this could form part of the income and outcomes report.
· Jim Stockley thanked Nick Durman, Neil Bolton-Heaton and Jo Dixon for their hard work. With regards to video GP appointments he felt that it would be useful to gauge the views of the clinicians on providing video consultations.
· Healthwatch would be producing a monthly column in the local media.
· Councillor Mather asked whether Healthwatch produced a package for what they wanted sharing on social media. Jo Dixon stated that they were currently undertaking a project on carers and had put together a package of suggested posts and communications. In the past when Members had shared Healthwatch’s Facebook posts, a good response had been received. She would be happy to pass on the information regarding the carers’ project to the Committee. Healthwatch was trying different ways of reaching the community and different parts of the community.
RESOLVED: That the update on the work of Healthwatch Wokingham Borough be noted.