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In June, we’re asking:

“Can you tell us about your experiences of asking for and receiving health or social care support, if you have needed help in the last few months?”

Our conversations with you in June highlighted just how important health and social care services are to everyone. We spoke with many older people across the county and found that experiences varied greatly from one person to another. However, some common themes did emerge and it was clear that the majority of people have found accessing health services to be much more difficult during the pandemic. Many reported it was actually getting appointments and receiving adequate follow up after an appointment, which were the main issues:

“It seems like the Doctors have gone into hiding. It is difficult to speak to one and the Nurses are returning all the telephone calls”.

“My clear advice is ‘be proactive’ in respect of chasing up your appointments as pressure in the hospitals means that they don’t always appear to have the time to follow this up; I take matters into my own hands and call the secretaries when needed.”

A few people told us about their recent interactions that were very positive:

“I have a great GP who rings me regularly, I don’t have any problems accessing. Our ambulance service is second to none - they always stay with you and keep you informed what’s happening. No complaints”.

“I gets on very well with my GP, I think their service has improved, they contact me to arrange check-ups etc. No complaints at all.”

But on the flip side, we also heard from people who had distressing experiences when asking for help at times of crisis.

It is also heartening to note that taking part in these regular questions is clearly important to older people – highlighted by this comment from our Ageing Well Group:

The Ageing Well group reported that they felt discussing this month’s question was helpful and enabled them to appreciate they were not alone in their experiences”.

For more information contact:

Helen Atkinson, Head of Age Friendly Innovation on 01452 420931 or email hatkinson@ageukgloucestershire.org.uk