Calls to make healthcare a priority at the heart of government


A survey commissioned by the Patients Association has revealed significant challenges in accessing care, reinforcing the charity's calls to fix the crisis in healthcare and improve patients’ access to the services they need to live well.

Three in ten (30%) people have struggled to access GP appointments in the past six months, whilst only 13% said there were no NHS services they had easy access to and around one in four (24%) respondents disagreed they had been able to access the services they need in the past six months. Just over three in ten (31%) want full ownership of and easy access to all their medical information.

Commenting on the results, the Chief Executive of the Patients Association Rachel Power says: “These survey results show how a broken NHS is damaging the relationship patients have with the services they need.

“It is critical that the new Government halts and reverses the decline in the NHS. Patients deserve far better than they’re getting now. So we call on the new Government and the NHS to work in partnership with patients to reverse this decline and deliver the care people need to live well.”

Other findings from the survey of 1,210 respondents highlight poor communication and lack of coordination as inefficiencies dogging the system.

“You get there - eventually - but the waste in time and the to-ing and fro-ing from appointment to appointment is a waste of resources. Sort issues quickly and stop multiple appointments.”

“Long waiting list. Wrong information. Consultants letter contained information that was never discussed with patient.”

Rachel Power adds: “The survey’s findings strongly support the Patients Association's manifesto demands especially for our call that the new Government introduce a health-in-all government policies approach to health, which was backed by 7 out of 10 respondents to the survey.

“We also see how desperate patients are for the new Government to reverse the normalisation of the crisis in health and care. Patients want more spent on the NHS to improve their access to and experience of care.”


Five demands
The Patients Association makes five demands in its manifesto, supported by respondents to the survey in varying degrees.  

1. Take patient partnership from theory to practice:

Patients want to be treated as an equal partner in their care,  with nearly half (45%) believing this would improve communication and transparency.

2. Make increasing the availability of quality care a national priority:

With only around half (47%) of respondents agreeing they could access services they needed, a new ambitious strategy to get more patients the care they need is clearly urgently needed. 

3. Place health at the heart of government:

71% of respondents agreed that all Government departments should prioritise public health, so we need a cross-government strategy that sets out what different departments can do to promote patient health and wellbeing and avoid causing additional harm.

4. Deliver genuine two-way communication:
Just over two-fifths (41%) of respondents felt their care was well coordinated. The Patients Association’s manifesto calls on the Government to increase the number of care coordinators care navigators to improve coordination of care and improve communication routes.

5. Provide the workforce patients need:

Just under a third (32%) of respondents believe the Government should prioritise investing in healthcare staff, backing demands for full implementation of the NHS workforce plan.

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