PATIENTS feel they have to become experts in their own care in order the get the help they need, according to a survey of people in Wiltshire, Swindon and BaNES.

Long waiting times and misdiagnosis are also problems that let the NHS down the most according to 2000 people quizzed about health care by Heathwatch.

The Healthwatch #WhatWouldYouDo? campaign was conducted throughout Wiltshire, Swindon and BaNES found that while patients praised high quality treatment and cancer support, some found it hard to get a doctors appointments and struggled for a correct diagnosis. People also blamed the high cost of gym memberships and healthy food as a reason for not having the balanced lifestyle they want.

49 people spoke out about better access to doctors appointments, dentists and specific treatment like physio therapy. Others said mental health support should be provided earlier. Continuity of care was chosen by over half of respondents when asked what is most important during long term support.

Dr Ian Orpen, Chair of the BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Board, said:

“We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to fill in the surveys and speak to us at events across the region over the past few weeks.

“It’s clear that local people have strong views about how heath and care services should be organised in the future. We will listen to them and make sure we address their concerns as we draw up plans for how we organise services over the coming years.”

Carol Willis, Manager at Healthwatch Swindon said:

“The Government is investing an additional £20 billion a year until 2023 in the NHS to implement the vision laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan. We were asked to help find out what local people thought was the best way for the NHS in Bath & North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire to invest in the right services as part of this plan.

“It was wonderful to listen to so many people keen to make a difference to our local NHS. These views are all in the report and we will now monitor how the local NHS responds.”