The final focus group, to discuss how the NHS could improve services in Central Bedfordshire, was held with mental health support group Minds2Gether on 26th April.

Discussions took place around continuity of care; availability of appointments; access to dedicated healthcare professionals; improving services and communication for service users. Comments included:

“need access to my psychiatrist; you can’t speak to them. I haven’t even got a care co-ordinator, that’s what I need, even if it’s just an hour a month. You know then you have the support”

“every 3 months you see a psychiatrist, its only about 15 mins after the first appointment”

“they expect you to be 10 minutes early and they can be ½ to 1 hour late seeing you”

“social inclusion and fighting the stigma attached to mental health has improved”

“group sessions and meeting others is something that has worked well”

“NOAH* is really good; helps people that want to get into work and volunteering”

“I want healthcare professionals to talk to each other to make my care better”

* NOAH (New Opportunities and Horizons) is a Luton-based charity working across Bedfordshire offering hope and support to people struggling against homelessness and exclusion.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in our focus groups, and to those who have taken the time to complete the survey. All of the feedback from the focus groups, and the survey questions, will be included in our report to Healthwatch England in June.