This research was carried out across south east London, including the London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark. Each local Healthwatch carried out individual engagement in their own borough. The findings below are a collation of the results, summarising the themes across the region.
The topics of the focus groups were agreed with OHSEL and covered mental health and learning disabilities and autism. In addition, two surveys were filled out by nearly 1000 residents and covered themes within the NHS Long Term Plan. A breakdown of equality and diversity data can be found in an attached appendix.
The findings will be shared with Our Healthier South East London (OHSEL), south east London’s Integrated Care System to help shape the local plan and support OHSEL’s own engagement.
What is the NHS Long Term Plan?
The NHS has been asked by the government to write the NHS Long Term Plan. The plan shows how the NHS will spend additional funding in the next ten years.
The plan is based on the views of NHS staff and the public on what the NHS needs. It covers the following key areas:
- Helping more people to stay well and tackling health inequalities.
- Improving how the NHS works so that people can get help more easily and closer to home.
- More money invested in technology.
- Making care better.
The NHS wants to get better at looking after people with cancer, lung and heart diseases, mental illness, dementia, learning disabilities, and autism.
What is Our Healthier South East London?
Our Healthier South East London is the regional coordinator of the national NHS Long Term Plan. If implemented, the present six Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) of Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Bexley, Greenwich and Bromley will be dissolved and a new six borough South East London CCG will be formed from April 2020. An ‘integrated care system’ across health and social care services will also be developed.
The NHS Long Term Plan is the NHS response to changing health care needs, population growth and constrained health and social care budgets. The aim is to enable decisions that need a regional approach and to promote more integrated, out-of-hospital and preventive care. The argument is that this will set up health and social care services for the long term future.
Summary of findings
Overall, residents were aware that they should eat healthily and take regular exercise, but felt that access to clean green spaces, monetary constraints and busy lifestyles were barriers to making this a reality. It was also paramount to residents that the link between mental and physical health is made to help them live a healthy life. It should encompass all aspects of life, including community awareness, activities, education and health services. Whilst south east London residents had a general awareness that exercise and good diet is vital to wellbeing, they would like more in depth information and education. A huge area of concern for all residents in all boroughs was easier and quicker access to GP services. South east London residents do not have confidence they can access primary care services promptly if they feel unwell.