Project launched to tackle digital exclusion in Norfolk and Waveney
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Patients being treated for cancer are being asked for their experiences accessing online consultations as part of a project to tackle digital exclusion in Norfolk and Waveney.
Healthwatch Norfolk has been commissioned by Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to work with patient groups to ensure they are not being overlooked with accessing care such as online consultations and virtual clinics in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The project will focus initially on cancer patients asking for their perception and experiences of virtual consultations, if their needs were met, and their overall experience.
The health bodies aim to use the information to find if individuals and communities are "not being left behind" and how it could improve access to primary and secondary cancer care consultations.
Maggie Tween, Norfolk and Waveney cancer programme manager from the CCG, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to big changes in the way that people access health and care services.
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“This has included the use of online consultations, virtual clinics, and Covid-protected safe areas in hospitals for cancer care and treatment. The NHS has been doing all it can to make sure that patients receive the life-saving care they need.
“But with the rapid rise in the use of digital technologies being used in both cancer treatment and support, we want to ensure people are not left behind and the right information and support is in place for those who need it."
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Healthwatch Suffolk will assist with collecting views of patients living in the Waveney area.
Alex Stewart, Healthwatch Norfolk CEO said it was vital there was digital support for cancer patients to deliver life-saving care.
He said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the way cancer patients attend appointments and it is vital that digital support is employed effectively to support the delivery of life-saving care.
"We have seen more transformation of health and care services in the last few months than we have seen in over four decades of integrated health and social care policy initiatives.
The survey can be completed online by visiting www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/cancerappointments/ for patients and www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/cancerdigitalexclusion/ for staff.
Patients can also contact Healthwatch Norfolk by calling 01953 856029, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.