Healthwatch Trafford – The North Trafford Project: A New Report
The North Trafford Project: a new report
Healthwatch Trafford have released a new report as the result of a long-running piece of research into inequalities in health service access in the north of the borough. The project began as a response to feedback about health and care services in North Trafford, and we wanted to investigate the possible relationship between inequality and access to health and care service access in the area.
The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic meant we needed to adapt the project and conduct our engagement differently, and this report is based on several sources of primary research that took place between October 2020 and February 2021.
What we found:
- Before the COVID-19 pandemic, people were broadly able to access the health and care services they needed in North Trafford.
- GP waiting times were a key issue. Our feedback on GP services in North Trafford suggests that patients are not always happy with the service here compared to users across Trafford.
- After the pandemic began people were concerned about access issues.
- Dental access became more difficult post-pandemic. This has been a major issue in the wider Trafford and Greater Manchester area. Healthwatch England have also raised the issue of dental access nationally as a result of COVID-19.
- Phlebotomy is a longstanding issue in the borough and has been disrupted due to Covid-19.
- There were barriers to access for those with English as a second language, lack of confidence with digital services, or who prefer face-to-face appointments.
- Whilst remote appointments meant easier access for some, others struggled to understand the systems and had concerns over language and privacy.
- We tried to engage with local professionals to get a broader understanding of how health inequalities might affect services in the area but had few responses.
- There were also few comments from people about health and care inequality and how to address it.
- There was a lack of recent publications directly related to health and inequality in the Trafford area.
- Look at initiatives that could reduce waiting times for GP appointments once the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
- Ensure all patients can access appointment booking services, whether digitally, via telephone, text or in person. Once services return, patients should be given a choice of remote or face-to-face appointments.
- There should be provision for the backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic when dental services are able to accept more patients.
- Improve engagement and clarity between professionals and the public, to increase understanding of ongoing issues and measures taken to address health inequalities.