Agenda item

Healthwatch Brent Update: Patient experience of phlebotomy services, and the self-directed support of residents living with mental health conditions

This report presents the findings of three action research projects funded through the Community Chest prepared by Healthwatch Team (Phlebotomy Services in Brent); Brent User Group (Self-directed Support – A Survey) and Brent Centre for Young People (A mental health needs assessment of young Irish people at Lynton Close).


Julie Pal (Chief Executive, Healthwatch Brent) provided a Healthwatch Brent update on two specific pieces of work on patient experience recently undertaken.  It was noted, initially, that unfortunately two patients who were due to speak had not arrived but that Julie Pal would take away any more detailed questions and feed the answers back to the Board at a later date.


Julie Pal began by introducing a report on patient experience of phlebotomy (blood testing) services. She gave some background on how the work originated from a comment made last year by a member of the public on the challenges facing phlebotomy services in the Borough. The Board heard that the methodology of the research included interviews with 70 patients in Brent to ask them about their recent experiences of phlebotomy services alongside interviews with ten health professionals on the scope of phlebotomy services in the area. Julie Pal outlined that there had been some historical local challenges relating to phlebotomy, and it was significant to have found that Brent CCG had already completed a lot of patient engagement work in recent years to reconfigure how these types of services were provided. This included developing a de-centralised model and commissioning phlebotomy services in accessible community GP practices. Julie Pal stated that this had been a positive way of recognising the methods of the CCG in addressing an issue through its own patient engagement and re-shaping how the related services were provided accordingly.


Dr Ethie Kong (Vice Chair; Co-Clinical Director Brent Clinical Commissioning Group) elaborated further on the findings of the report stating that Brent CCG had invested in expanding out of hospital phlebotomy services because it had become difficult for patients to get appointments at smaller practices. She highlighted the importance of developing the Integrated Clinical Environment (ICE) system which allowed practitioners to access a patient’s blood test results from across NHS settings in the North West London area. Dr Kong also drew attention to the issue of communication and that she felt messaging about the greater availability of phlebotomy services had struggled to reach residents and patients.


Members commented that the methodology and findings were interesting and a discussion ensued about how Healthwatch Brent disseminated this type of information. It was suggested that, in addition to Healthwatch’s usual communication channels, a summary of the report findings be included in an upcoming YourBrent e-newsletter to expand reach to even higher numbers of residents and patients across the Borough.


Julie Pal also gave a brief overview of a Healthwatch Brent survey on self-directed support for service users with mental health issues in the Borough. It was noted that this was one of the first pieces of research to be funded by Healthwatch Brent’s Community Chest.




(i)         That Board note the work of Healthwatch Brent in delivering its contract and its recent research undertaken relating to phlebotomy services and self directed support for service users with mental health issues; and


(ii)        A suggestion be made that the summary of the report’s findings be included and disseminated in an upcoming ‘YourBrent’ e-newsletter.


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