North West London ICS has shared their latest monthly community insight report, collating feedback from communities across their region and reflecting their emerging involvement strategy.
Access to services was a key theme through the engagement exercises, with access to primary care and dentistry care highlighted in Brent; citizens pinpointed difficulty registering with NHS dentists and accessing GP appointments. In Hillingdon, citizens re-emphasised the difficulty in accessing primary care and also noted geographical barriers: “Sometimes health services or organisations providing support are not always available in all areas of the borough, so you need to go from north to south or vice versa”. The engagement team noted that they will continue to escalate the thematic trends around access within the ICB.
Communication was also an issue in both areas; in Brent, citizens shared feedback on perceived poor communication from hospitals leading to confusion, such as missed appointment letters, and in Hillingdon citizens said “I have the feeling that the hospital and the surgeries are not in communication and in the end it is we the patients who are affected”.
Communication was also raised in Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, with citizens noting a need for “active involvement to increase the reach of NHS communications, co-designing information that is going to be meaningful and connect to residents”. In addition, they pointed out the challenges around communications for those with sensory disabilities and asked for more materials in accessible formats.
Racial inequalities were emphasised in discussion in Brent around prostate cancer, with citizens stating a need for more education in the subject and pointing out that it is particularly an issue for black men.
In Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, feedback focused on the experiences of asylum seekers and homeless people. Citizens acknowledged that the breadth and complexity of needs are challenging for providers and said that the pathways to accessing support are not well-understood. A key point was raised around the growing impact on mental health for asylum seekers housed in hotels, with regards to trying to stay connected to loved ones. The engagement team are to work with the North West London Homeless team to secure more insights in this area from people experiencing homelessness, along with insights from refugees.
In Harrow, engagement highlighted that citizens have questions around how the borough-based partnership and the ICB monitor primary care performance metrics, and what happens with ‘underperforming’ practices (as measured against the metrics). In addition, there were concerns raised over the use of the software partner contracted for one of the area’s digital solutions, with uncertainty on how data is used. The engagement team noted a need to share information on the procurement process and security checks on providers, and said that use of data is to be discussed at the next Harrow Health Citizen’s Forum.
In terms of region-wide engagement, conversation at the North West London: Citizen’s Panel focused on what matters to residents. Feedback included worries around digital exclusion; concerns around mental health and loss of trust in services; and a need for citizens to feel that they can rely on emergency services. Feedback in these areas is to be fed into ICS strategy development work.
The report can be accessed in full here.