The NHS is increasingly making decisions more regionally, so West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership wanted to make sure that local people’s views about the NHS Long Term Plan were heard. They asked Healthwatch organisations in the region to reach out into their communities and find out what people really think of the proposed changes. Healthwatch Leeds led on the collaborative engagement.
Healthwatch received feedback from over 1800 people and held more than 15 focus groups across the area. People told us that they were keen to exercise more, eat healthier and manage their weight, but want more help to do this. One of the most frequent barriers mentioned by people across the region were the high costs of going to the gym or attending exercise classes.
People had a lot to say about using more digital technology in the NHS. Over 500 people were worried that certain groups of people would be marginalised by a lack of knowledge and digital skills, or access to computers or smart phones. People used examples of older people, those with disabilities, or from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, these are often groups who are already experiencing difficulties accessing the health system. There was a strong sense that, “Digital should be an enhancement to services not a replacement for it.”
We at Healthwatch are pleased to announce the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership are fully committed to taking the report to all their programme boards, workstreams etc, and using the insights to inform the future plan for West Yorkshire and Harrogate.
Healthwatch are passionate about people’s voices being kept at the centre of health and care plans, and would therefore like to give big thanks to all the people that took park in this important work. We and our West Yorkshire, Craven and Harrogate Healthwatch colleagues will continue to work together and be the critical friend to West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership.