When planning our engagement events and activities, we endeavour to visit the places where local people of different ages and demographics are, this includes making sure we find opportunities to talk to people outside normal office hours.
We do this because we need to:
- proactively engage with, and respond to, the different populations that live in West Sussex
- understand and help meet their health and social care needs.
One of the ways we do this is by listening to people in a specific area within our county. On this occasion, our focus has been in Bewbush part of Crawley Borough. This helps us to better understand the health and social care experiences for local people living in a an urban, non affluent area.
We met over 300 residents and had many valuable conversations. Most Bewbush residents were more than happy to share their lived experiences and views with us.
We captured over 220 stories.
- Local mothers spoke positively about their experiences of hospital-based maternity services but made some comments that offer valuable insight for improving services.
- The local Children and Family Centre is well liked by parents, as it offers non-judgmental facilities where they can relax with age-appropriate activities and get helpful advice.
Living and Working Well
- Some people expressed concern that it will become impossible to get support if the 10,000 new homes are developed, as there are unlikely to be new GP services.
- Two-thirds of people who mentioned accessing (or trying to access GP support) said that getting through to the local GP service is both challenging and frustrating, with many saying they have had to try many times and on multiple days.
- There is a need to promote alternative ways of accessing GP consultations.
- Having the right people at front of house is a key part of general practice business and helps to create a positive patient/consumer experience.
- People living with a learning disability have different experiences if they are supported or if they attend consultations independently.
- Local people do not know about services, or when they have heard about a service they do not know what it offers or how to access it.
- For some families there is a huge and negative carer burden, that serves to impact on their own mental wellbeing. These people appear caught in a vicious cycle.
- People are concerned they are not getting mental health medication reviews.
- Families are struggling to get support for young people who are living with mental ill-health.
- People are being referred to Horsham Hospital and not locally and this is having a impact of their health and wellbeing because of the travel difficulties.
As well as not being good for patients, this is putting an extra burden on GPs, as the story below shows.
- We were unable to find any luncheon/tea group, or chat groups for the older residents of Bewbush and people appear to have to travel out of the area. Whilst the Community Café provides a social environment for residents, there does not appear to be a local offer for residents who cannot independently access this service.