Mental health tops the list of patients' priorities

01 January 2018 14:51

The #SpeakUp campaign aims to get more people to share their views

The #SpeakUp campaign aims to get more people to share their views

The NHS should prioritise mental health in 2018, a health watchdog is urging.

According to Healthwatch, a health and care consumer champion, mental health - in particular the care and support of children and young adults - is the main area of concern for most people.

The organisation wants the NHS and policy makers to respond to the top issues when shaping its services over the next 12 months.

Imelda Redmond, national director of Healthwatch England, said: "We want to see all working in health and social care make it their personal New Year's resolution for 2018 to work with people as partners in designing the future of services."

Widespread feedback

Healthwatch has identified the country's top priorities based on feedback from more than 340,000 people across 152 local Healthwatch groups across England.

Closely following mental health, social care - most notably the support for older people and their carers - was next on the list.

Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) - controversial plans being developed in 44 regions in England to restructure services - are also a major concern for many of those polled.

Encouraging people to #SpeakUp

The watchdog says feedback helps it to identify which areas of health should be prioritised and is calling on more people to get in touch with their local Healthwatch to share their ideas and experiences.

The body is also launching a #SpeakUp campaign to encourage service users to talk about their experiences and ideas on how health services can be improved.

Ms Redmond added: "Healthwatch helps improve care by making sure services hear people's views - what is working for you and what is not. As we approach the 70th birthday of the NHS, if anyone has a story they want to share or an idea they think might help, I urge them to get involved and speak to their local Healthwatch."

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