#WhatMattersMost halfway results: GP services are main focus for Healthwatch in East Berkshire

Residents across East Berkshire have been telling us what matters most to them when it comes to health and social care services, as part of our ongoing survey, and they have raised clear concerns about accessing GP services.
What matters most flyer

Our survey has had over 200 responses within the first few weeks, with people telling us about both positive and negative experiences of health and social care services across East Berkshire, as well as what they think our work priorities should be going forward.

We have received lots of examples of positive experiences of services from patients and the services which received the most positive ratings were the programme to roll-out the COVID-19 vaccinations, followed by Ambulance services and then Cancer Care.

People have told us how they valued being treated with respect and kindness, receiving responses in a timely manner, and staff who show understanding of patients’ emotions and feelings.

  • 56% of people said it was ‘Easy/Normal’ to access health and care services 
  • 44% of people found it ‘Difficult’ to access these services
“It is easy to obtain assistance from the GP, A&E and the pharmacy has been great! Getting help and support for mental health issues has been EXTREMELY difficult”

We also asked participants which area of health and care they thought Healthwatch East Berkshire should focus on over the next year. There were several suggestions, with a clear majority asking for a focus on accessing GP services.

Other suggestions which were raised in response to this question include the type of appointments available at services (telephone, email, and in-person), and ensuring that mental health services are prepared for a possible surge of appointments after lockdown.

“GP practices - work on accessibility - being available when people need to access these services - late evenings/weekends seeing as all the walk-in centres across the trust are closed.”

During the past year, the biggest supports to health and wellbeing have been:

  • Using technology for medical appointments,
  • Seeing friends and family (either as a support bubble or through video calling),
  • Being outdoors,
  • New hobbies such as DIY projects, art and crafts, and gardening.

When it comes to personal health and wellbeing goals for the next year, people have told us that they want to improve and maintain their fitness levels, lose weight, and improve their mental health. Lifting of lockdown restrictions is stated as the biggest support so that friends, family, and community groups can offer motivation and companionship.

We are running our survey until the end of April so there is still plenty of time to complete it. We are keen to hear from as many people across East Berkshire as possible so that we can get a better picture of which services to focus on. Join your voice with those who have already told us what matters most to them when it comes to their health and social care.

Survey