THE number of people who took part in a survey looking at the future of health has been criticised.
The three clinical commissioning groups covering Portsmouth, Havant, Fareham and Gosport put on a joint engagement scheme to ask people their views on healthcare.
But of the 1,950 people who responded, only 311 were from Portsmouth.
The Big Health Conversation was on for two months and covered a range of themes across the sector from community care to centralising services.
But during a Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) governing board meeting, member Paul Cox criticised the response rate.
Mr Cox, the practice manager representative, said: ‘It is hard to draw conclusions from this survey when only 311 people of a possible 200,000 actually responded.’
Other members did say it was a shame more people did not take the opportunity to have their say. Within the report of findings, it said the CCG would consider the low response rate in Portsmouth when carrying out future engagement activities.
Initial findings of the questionnaire, which was available online and in council offices for two months, showed that for more than half of respondents the priority of change in the NHS should be with GP and community care services.
A similar number also said it made sense to prioritise care close to home — even if it meant fewer hospital beds.
When asked about centralising services, like vascular, which saw all major operations moved from Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, to Southampton General Hospital earlier this year, nearly a third of respondents in Portsmouth said people could benefit from large, specialist departments even if they were further from home. During the Portsmouth CCG governing board meeting, held earlier this week, Innes Riches, chief operating officer and director of adult services, said it was important to remember this information wasnot being used to shape future changes.
He said: ‘This was not a consultation to get thoughts on specific changes to the NHS.
‘We just wanted to get a feeling about what people think on healthcare and we could find that if proposals are put forward we would get more or different responses.
“This is the first phase and more engagement will be done in the future. It does give us an initial insight though on what people want to see.’
n The NHS must reduce ‘bed-blocking’. One approach is to invest in community-based services so fewer people need hospital care in the first place — this would also mean that more people would be able to leave hospital promptly, when they are well enough to do so. Over this time, this would mean more NHS care in GP surgeries, community facilities, and at home — and fewer hospital beds. Do you think that?
48.8% said...it makes sense to prioritise care close to home — even if that means fewer hospital beds.
25.6% said...don’t know.
15% said...it makes sense to prioritise care in major hospitals — even if that means fewer community services.
10.6% said ...the balance of spending is about right at the moment.
n Many people say they find it hard to get a GP appointment. With GPs increasingly hard to recruit, and demand rising, the local NHS believes that primary care must change if people are to get the care and support they need. Which one of these statements most closely matches your views?
41.9% said patients with minor problems should see other NHS staff instead.
29.2% said...people should be encouraged to take more responsibility for their own health.
15.6% said...GP practices should work more closely together to create a bigger pool of frontline staff.
n In some instances, the NHS believes that patients get better care in specialist centres. But creating centres of excellence for some specialities means that these services would be less local for some people. Which of these statements most closely matches your views?
65.5% said...people can benefit from large, specialist departments — even if they are further from home.
19.7% said...as many services as possible should be provided at all hospitals, even if outcomes are not as good as they could be.
n There is a lot of discussion about making the NHS a seven-day service, What is your view of weekend services?
36.6% said ...at weekends, the priority should be urgent care services before expanding routine care.
29.7% said..all NHS should be available every — Saturdays and Sundays should be like any other day.
22.4% said...there are enough NHS services at the weekend already.