Wandsworth watchdog asking for pandemic healthcare experiences

An independent healthcare watchdog in Wandsworth wants to hear more about people’s experiences of video and telephone appointments with health and social care services during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Healthwatch Wandsworth has heard from over 100 people but they want to hear from many more people who haven’t yet shared their experiences.

4 in 5 people reported not having a choice about the type of appointment they had, including some who would have preferred a video appointment to a telephone appointment, there is also concern about widening health if people face other challenges in accessing online or telephone appointments. 

Stephen Hickey, Healthwatch Wandsworth chair said: “We want to hear from as many people as possible. 

“We would especially like to hear more about experiences when people have had digital or online appointments.

“We will be focusing on trying to gain more insight from people who do not speak English as a first language, people who need support with mental health and others who may find accessing appointments challenging.”

Healthwatch Wandsworth is the independent health and social care champion for the people of Wandsworth, and is run by Wandsworth Care Alliance.

The group wishes to strengthen the voices of the local people and hear about their experiences of accessing healthcare since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. 

To continually protect people, GP practices and other health and social care services now offer more appointments whereby visiting them in person is not necessary, this includes video and telephone appointments and email contact. 

Many people have already completed the online survey and Healthwatch Wandsworth has supported elders, people with learning disabilities and people with autism to speak to them about the topic over the phone. 

It has been working with the NHS to ensure that people running services are aware of any benefits and challenges people have spoken about and that people’s experience influences how the services develop and improve.

So far there has been a lot of positive feedback about the convenience of not having to attend a service, but some people experienced challenges coordinating appointments and prescriptions, and some people had additional challenges not attending an appointment and having to describe issues over the phone.

To help Healthwatch Wandsworth to hear more about how health and care services are working online and on the phone complete their online survey or encourage people you know to take part.

If you work with a community group and think they would like to discuss the topic with Healthwatch Wandsworth, please get in touch.

If you would like to talk through your experience over the phone, please call Healthwatch Wandsworth to arrange a time to talk. 

Healthwatch Wandsworth listens to local peoples’ experiences of all publicly funded healthcare and social care, they run events, provide newsletter updates, and attend community groups regularly, even during the pandemic. 

If you are looking for a service, or haven’t been happy with a recent service, you can contact Healthwatch Wandsworth for information about how to get the help that you need. 

To keep up-to-date and hear about how you can be involved in their work you can sign up to be a member and receive a regular newsletter.

Get in touch by calling 020 8516 7767 between 10 am – 4 pm Monday to Friday, emailing [email protected] or by post to: Healthwatch Wandsworth, 3rd Floor Trident Business Centre, 89 Bickersteth Road, Tooting, SW17 9SH

You can fill in their online survey here.

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