The engagement has been supported by ‘A Way Out’ who are an outreach and prevention charity. A Way Out have enabled eight women to share their narratives of their views and experiences of their health and wellbeing, and health and social care services over the past two years.
The overall findings of this engagement, based on what women have told us, show that:
- There have been positive experiences of being able to access care and support from maternity services.
- Barriers to accessing GP services has had an effect on the women’s mental health, wellbeing and other health conditions. The main barriers include not having access to the internet to access health services, not being able to access face-to-face appointment bookings and not being able to access face-to-face appointments with a GP.
- Difficulties around communication between the healthcare professional and the patient have been identified as a barrier to effective pain management for the women.
- Additional barriers to accessing GP services have been identified.
Based on the findings, the following recommendations have been made:
- GP practices should promote ‘choice’ in how patients access appointments and remote care.
- GP practices to identify and record the specific support needs (relative to communication and ability to access specific GP services) of patients that have a range of complex social vulnerabilities, as and when their needs arise.
- GP practices to support their staff’s knowledge and understanding of the registration of patients who are homeless/have no fixed abode/who are legitimately unable to provide documentation of living within their catchment area.
- Health care professionals to communicate the risks, benefits and consequences of different methods of managing pain to enable patients to actively participate in their care and support. Healthcare professionals and support worker/advocate/carer need to work together to facilitate this process and understanding where appropriate.
‘Healthwatch Stockton-on-Tees would like to say thank you to the women who have taken the time to share their experiences and thank you to ‘A Way Out’ and the complex needs workers who have worked hard to support this engagement and their clients through such challenging times.’
Download a copy of our report to find out more, including a response from Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group.
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