The British Red Cross commissioned the Patients Association to speak to patients from 'left behind' neighbourhoods (where residents have markedly worse socio-economic outcomes than those of other equally deprived areas and have a lower level of social infrastructure) about their unmet health needs and what could be done about this.

The patients were asked about the barriers they face to accessing healthcare, examples of where it is working, and where they go for help.

What we heard was: 

  1. Participants described difficulties in getting the information they need to make decisions about their healthcare.
  2. Participants often encounter poor experiences when communicating with their healthcare professionals and describe a lack of adaptation made for people with mental health concerns, learning difficulties, and physical disabilities.
  3. Distrust in the healthcare system by participants has driven many to rely on charities for help in finding and using healthcare services, and to use charities as a first point of contact.

Click on any of the images below to see the full illustration of the focus groups' discussions.