An insight into winter pressures at Emergency Departments

July 12, 2022
Healthwatch Together engaged with members of the public across Lancashire and South Cumbria to understand patient experience and presentation at Emergency Departments, Urgent Treatment Centres and Walk-In Centres.

The team visited 17 sites during November and December 2021 and spoke to 565 people, had 44 in-depth discussions and engaged with 16 focus groups.


What did we recommend?

As a result of analysing the insights shared with us by local residents, HWT made recommendations in the following areas:

NHS 111 service: increase awareness, understanding and promotion of the service

General practice: improve access and waiting times

Communication: provide clearer and more transparency about services for all demographics

Community pharmacy: Increase promotion of this service

Accessibility of services: increase promotion of alternative places for blood tests and x-rays, walk-in-centres, minor injuries units, mental health support in the community


Impact so far

As a Healthwatch it is important not just that we gather data and record people’s experiences and stories, but also that we do something with them. We know that these findings are already being used to influence future changes:

Urgent care: The Urgent and Emergency Care Network comprises the NHS clinical leads from across Lancashire and South Cumbria are using the reports to inform their operational plans for 2022-23.

The North West Ambulance Service and NHS England Improvement: The North West Ambulance Service is looking at the patient experience of NHS 111 and NHS England Improvement have shared the reports with their regional Health and Equalities Unit so they can be collated with the findings from across the other two Integrated Care Sectors (Greater Manchester and Cheshire & Merseyside)

NHS Communications: NHS communication leads in Clinical Commissioning Groups and Trusts are creating action plans to improve local communications based on feedback from people

Primary Care subcell for Lancashire and South Cumbria: The group have said they will look at the primary care and pharmacy recommendations and work with secondary care colleagues too as there is some crossover between the findings.

Read the report here.

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