More needs to be done to improve access to NHS services in Lincolnshire – according to hundreds of people who took part in a countywide survey.
The findings, published in a new report by the county’s independent health and care champion - Healthwatch Lincolnshire, reveal many people are struggling to get to hospital appointments because of an increase in more distant NHS services, combined with the lack of good public transport and road links.
More than 400 residents, patients and their families shared over 800 views in: ‘What Would You do?’ activities, which ran from March to April to encourage people in the county to share their views about the Government should invest an additional £20 billion a year in the NHS as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.
The public were asked to give their views on improving local services; share their ideas on how people can live healthier lives and what improvements they think could be made to help people access services quickly.
Sarah Fletcher, chief executive at Healthwatch Lincolnshire, said: “Their feedback has made it clear that rurality is a major issue, and this is not just about travel and transport. Concerns were raised about an increasing level of more distant NHS services, coupled with less preventative and community-based support.”
She said the public want to see a more ‘joined up’ approach across all NHS services.
The report’s findings have been presented to the Lincolnshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, who commented: “We are working with partners who manage the count’s travel and transport to ensure these concerns are considered as progression is made.
“People are accepting that some health services might be delivered further from home, but they definitely want all their recovery, recuperation and ongoing healthcare support local.
“This message has also been strong from our own engagement work, similarly focused upon the acceptance that specialist care may require greater travel, but frequent and routine appointments should be delivered as close to home as possible.”
The STP now plans to continue its ‘Healthy Conversation 2019’ engagement work throughout the rest of the year with various groups.