We are pleased to publish the final report from our partnership working with Healthwatch Suffolk, through which we engaged Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) service users for their views and experiences. It is important to note that we cannot claim our results to be representative of the entire population of NSFT service users however the findings raise some interesting themes and are worthy of attention.
Results of note include:
- 32% of people who had been referred to NSFT did not receive their first contact from the Trust for over one month.
- Over 1 in 3 respondents considered that they did not have a care plan in place.
- 44% said that they would have liked family or friends involved in reviews of their care but they were not.
- Over half of our respondents were not told about medication side effects during appointments.
- Half of the respondents did not think they had a discharge plan.
Read the full report here. HWS SUF Stepping Forward Report
If you would like the report in a format such as easy read or large print contact us 01473 907087 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To support the project, in November 2015, Healthwatch Suffolk and Suffolk User Forum ran a joint “Stepping Forward” event that was attended by 48 service users, professionals and carers. The event consisted of four workshops in which people shared their experiences of referral and access to assessment, care planning, care reviews and discharge planning.
The findings from the event have been incorporated into the final report and include:
The role of Link workers is essential in the primary sector and must be boosted to ensure widespread availability, referral and recognition within GP practices:
Professionals must always enable a meaningful dialogue with service users to produce a care plan that the service user can recognise, understand and that is personal to them.
Professionals need to recognise that the service user, family and/ or other carers are the experts in the service users experience and must be part of a care plan review.
Professionals must understand that service users/patients often fear discharge which can seem an abyss into the unknown where there is no planned or follow on care.
The Trust has committed to open and transparent dialogue with Healthwatch Suffolk and Suffolk User Forum at a senior level to explore all of the issues raised in this report and other feedback both in terms of practical improvements and to increase staff awareness of the perspectives of service users.
It has responded to the report as follows:
NSFT acknowledge that, although the response numbers were relatively small compared to the number of people it offers support to, the findings are nonetheless significant and highlight important areas for it to focus on.
The Trust would welcome an extension of the initial survey, which would allow further involvement from NSFT clinicians in co-production with Healthwatch and SUF an opportunity to develop a qualitative evaluation of service user views, experiences and understanding of needs to inform future care. The Trust considers that it would be particularly useful to look at what people think would help prevent difficulties, what maintains problems and what is needed to remain resilient and well in communities.
The Trust believes that this partnership approach will serve to improve clinical care, support recovery and communications.
It will also commit to sharing the report with managers and frontline staff via their quality governance meetings, ensuring discussion, learning and reflection. The summary outcomes of this will be shared with us by the Director of Operations for NSFT in June 2016.
To address the differing perceptions of what constitutes a “care plan” amongst service users, carers and mental health professionals, the Trust will explore the development of further information that it can send out to people who use its services and their carers. This would help people to know what to expect in respect of care planning and support from the Trust.
Andy Yacoub (Chief Executive of Healthwatch Suffolk) said:
“It is important that service providers promote a culture of continued learning and there is no better place to start than with service users and their carers or family members. The dialogue we have with the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust indicates that it is willing to learn, which is encouraging.”
Jayne Davey (Manager of Suffolk User Forum) said:
“This report shows how all partners have listened to and valued peoples lived experience. Service users are already involved in NSFT’s strategy planning but there is now real opportunity for the experiences and recommendations captured in this report to really deepen co-production and service improvement.”
We would like to thank everyone who participated in the survey and stepping forward event by sharing our commitment to ensuring that everyone knows how their contribution has made a difference.