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The review of our existing insight showed us that we needed to do more engagement with people who work, people living in rural communities and people with experience of common mental health problems.

We commissioned Healthwatch Blackpool to carry out a number of focus groups with these groups of people on our behalf. We wanted to know their views on local health and care services, as well as any ideas for improvement.

Summary of findings

People with experience of common mental health problems

  • A lack of support from social workers and limited access to mental health workers and a general lack of trust in medical staff.
  • Issues around appointments being changed and getting to appointments.
  • Lack of signposting from the NHS about what services and support is available.
  • Support from friends, family and community groups is invaluable.

People living in rural communities

  • More local services in their rural area that are face to face rather than a reliance on technology.
  • Issues raised about continuity of care when seeing different doctors, long waiting times and expensive car parks.
  • Group members told us they would like more specially trained staff and services for people with dementia.
  • They felt communication could be better, use more simplified language and suggested a local community newsletter to find out about local services.

People in work

  • Traditional working hours made getting a doctor’s appointment difficult, being able to work flexi-time is helpful.
  • Waiting lists for services are too long and there is a lack of availability for mental health services.
  • Online services are useful, although less favoured by older people.
  • The group was positive about more services being available within the community.
  •  They would like to see employers being more supportive to staff attending their appointments. technology.
  • Waiting times for GP appointments and mental health services is too long.
  • Want services to treat them as valued customers and given more options and choice when accessing services.

The insight from these focus groups was used to further develop the strategy. You can view a sketchnote of the workforce feedback below as well as the full engagement report.