What people in Sussex told Healthwatch about their views on the NHS Long Term Plan

Healthwatch East Sussex has published a report describing what 648 people said matters most to them about the NHS in Sussex. The report is part of a national review NHS England and Healthwatch England asked local Healthwatch organisations to undertake.

Healthwatch East Sussex spoke to local people via a survey, focus groups and local events, and the report reflects public opinion on priorities for the NHS in Sussex. These conversations took place at a time when local plans are being drawn up by Sussex & East Surrey Sustainability & Transformation Partnership (STP) in response to the NHS Long Term Plan.

What people said

Most people spoke about their individual experiences of NHS care and support, with some people talking about specific conditions.

Consistent themes of feedback included:

  • People’s positive experiences of accessing cancer services
  • Recognition of the benefits of diet and exercise in leading a healthy life and the need for individuals to take more responsibility of their own health as part of making the NHS more sustainable
  • A ‘more holistic approach’ to care plus the need and desire for more personalised care going forward
  • Mental health support received most of the critical responses.

What did people think should be a priority?

On the NHS, people said that the following should be a priority:

  • Availability and timeliness of medical appointments
  • Being able to see any medically appropriate health professional, whilst recognising the need for continuity of care
  • More joined up understanding between physical and mental health
  • Improved communication with patients, staff and between organisations.

John Routledge, Director of Healthwatch East Sussex said:

‘‘Healthwatch in Sussex have worked hard to gain insight into what the public wants from the NHS of the future. In addition to our survey results, we also spoke to many other people at various events and focus groups in Sussex.

It is clear from what the public told us that there are many challenges to improving the NHS but also big opportunities, building on widespread public goodwill towards the NHS. Some of the biggest challenges we face are to put the prevention of ill health at the heart of the NHS and to make the integration of health and social care a reality’’

Tom Gurney Communications and Engagement Lead, Sussex and East Surrey Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) added;

“The STP has also carried out significant public engagement on the NHS Long Term Plan to help inform our local health and care strategy, due to be published in autumn 2019. Between February and April 2019, almost 1,000 people gave feedback around their priorities for the NHS Long-Term Plan.

Together with the insight gathered by Healthwatch, Sussex people can be assured we are listening to their views and using their experiences to inform our plans going forward. Our aim is to ensure we provide high quality, sustainable and effective services to local people.

Public engagement does not end here, both Healthwatch in Sussex and the STP will be asking more questions and making sure as many people in our community as possible can share their views on the future of the NHS.”

Click here to read the full Healthwatch East Sussex report.