The aim of this project from West of England Rural Network (WERN) was to engage with people who do not usually have their voices heard.
WERN were keen to speak to rurally isolated people about their experiences of health and social care. This project also tied in with our work on non emergency patient transport.
During the eight months of engagement that WERN carried out they consistently heard the following issues:
- Rural transport was the most talked about issue and the difficulty in getting to appointments if the Chew Valley Community Car Scheme - for which there was much praise - was not available
- Care provision and the cost of care in rural areas was a concern for participants
- Communications between medical providers, GPs and patients, particularly when care was provided outside B&NES. Examples of issues were letters not being received and test results not being transferred
- Difficult appointment times, for example early in the morning, that don’t account for distance to travel
- Cross Border complications if patients are registered with a GP in B&NES but live in a different local authority
- The lack of patient choice due to rural isolation and transport issues
- Information in a format appropriate to each patient’s needs. There seems to be a mixture of too much information but less clarity about the most important fact within that information