Calling for more people to tell us what you think of health and care

Over 2,415 people spoke to us about their experiences of health and social care services in Devon this year.

Published today, our fifth annual report sets out what people think of current care and how we have helped services hear what works, what doesn’t and what local people want from care in the future. The report published today outlines this work and what we have done to tell those in charge of local services about the improvements people would like to see.

With the help of our 23 volunteers we have also been able to help the 2,071 people who contacted our advice line for information and advice about health and care services in 2017/18.

Top health and care issues in Devon

  • Access to NHS dental care
  • Prescription charges
  • Residential care charges
  • NHS low income scheme
  • GP out of hours services
  • Service for carers
  • Quality of diagnosis
  • Care at home
  • Community care financial assessments
  • Complaints managements
  • Waiting times for mental health services

How your stories are helping make a difference

By listening to and sharing people’s stories we have often been able to make a positive impact on their experience of health and care services in Devon.

Case Study

A caller wanted help understanding what had happened to her husband Mrs A, whose husband had passed away, was looking for an explanation and support to help
her understand what had happened as she felt the hospital and paramedics were to blame for her husband’s death.

Mr A had suffered with kidney problems and was a dialysis patient but otherwise well in his wife’s eyes. However, when Mrs A received the death certificate it stated kidney cancer – so Mrs A believed that the hospital had not diagnosed this, and it had subsequently led to Mr A’s death.

On the day of his death Mr A was feeling poorly and an ambulance was called. Two Paramedics attended but after spending an hour at their home they left, confident that Mr A did not require a hospital visit. A few hours later an ambulance was called again; this time two land ambulances and the air ambulance attended Mr A who died at home that day.

On behalf of Mrs A, a Healthwatch Champion wrote a letter of complaint to the hospital and the ambulance service. The letter stated that Mr A had not been treated properly and they had missed a diagnosis of cancer.

In the formal responses, both organisations offered a face to face meeting with Mrs A and the Healthwatch Champion to help her ask any questions she might have.
In the meeting with the hospital consultant it was explained that Mr A had been diagnosed with kidney cancer and that his operation had not been straightforward. Mrs A realised that
her husband had been keeping the extent of his poor health from her so as not to worry her and to protect her.

During the meeting with the ambulance service Mrs A discovered that Mr A told the paramedics who went to their home first visit that he would not go to hospital with them. It was his wish to be at home with his wife when he died. With this knowledge, Mrs A realised the paramedics were responding to Mr A’s wishes and were not at fault.

These meetings exceeded Mrs A’s expectations and were reassuring and comforting for the devastated spouse. It has enabled her to fully understand what happened to her husband.

Sharifa Hashem, Patient Engagement Manager at South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

“We understand the loss of a family member can be a very difficult time for families and loved ones. During the ambulance crew’s attendance the patient expressed clearly that he did not want to go to hospital and was deemed to have capacity to make his own decisions. This is a truly sad case, but the ambulance crew could not have foreseen the patient’s rapid decline. We hope family and friends are able to find comfort following the investigation.”

Tell us what you think

“Thank you to everybody who has shared their stories over the past year. Please continue to share your stories with us this year, if it matters to you, it could matter to someone else. By telling us what you think we can help make care better”

This year we’ve seen the incredible power people’s voices can have in helping make sure health and social care services meet our community’s needs.

If you have an experience you’d like to share – no matter how big or small – we want to hear about it. #ltStartsWithYou (Share your feedback here)

Read all about our achievements in our Annual Report here 

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