Have your say about NHS waiting times at Exeter event

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Authored by News Desk
Posted Monday, May 20, 2019 - 8:37am

Patients can have their say on waiting for NHS treatment as part of new Exeter research which could influence health policy.

Members of the public are invited to take part in a workshop, held as part of a study examining how waiting for medical treatment is connected to people’s anxiety about their health, and how this time can be made more positive.

During the daytime event, held on 22 May at Exeter Central Library, academics from the University of Exeter will ask people about their own experiences. Participants will also be able to work with the researchers to plan future parts of their study.

Organiser Dr Michael Flexer, from the University’s Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health, said: “Waiting times are important as people see them as a barometer for the performance of the NHS and patient satisfaction. This event gives people the chance to talk about and to think about waiting. We will be there to listen. The ideas they come up with will help inform out research work in the future.”

Researchers hope to share information from the event with doctors and other medical staff and NHS manages so they are informed. As part of the study they are examining news articles about the NHS from the past 70 years to see how waiting for medical treatment was covered by journalists, and how public attitudes have changed.

Dr Flexer said: “How can time for waiting – which is often necessary for example while patients are being observed – be seen as a valuable period people are given rather than just a lost chunk of time? Often people feel they lack control, but they can take charge of this time and use it to prepare for the treatment which may lie ahead. When people feel like they are in charge of time they don’t feel like they are waiting.”

Researchers hope to conduct research in GP surgeries, asking patients about their experience waiting for treatment. They have also worked with day patients and families connected to an Exeter hospice to record their views on waiting, and how this changes when you are suffering from a life-limiting illness.

People of all ages and backgrounds are welcome on the Exeter event, which is held from 10:30am until 3pm. It is free, and participants will be given lunch and travel expenses.

Book for the event by contacting either: Michael: m.flexer@exeter.ac.uk Tel: 07562 907682 or
Rachel: r.a.purtell@exeter.ac.uk Tel: 07388 189308.