People living in and around Royston recently took part in a survey on the future of the town's health services - with many calling for the existing hospital site to be put to better use.

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Integrated Care System (ICS) has published the findings of phase one of Let's Talk: Royston, which saw nearly 1,800 people take part.

The survey gathered insights into residents' experiences of health and care, including issues accessing appointments, transport options when travelling outside Royston for treatment, and hopes and aspirations for the future of healthcare in the town.

An overwhelming 96.4 per cent of respondents agreed that the local NHS should make best use of existing buildings to deliver better outcomes.

Of the 998 people who went into further detail, 60.2 per cent called for the existing Royston Hospital building to be kept as a healthcare asset and to be better utilised.

Residents were asked what they thought would be the biggest challenge to health services in the future, with 'increase need and demand' highlighted as the greatest concern, followed by population growth linked to new developments.

Forty-nine per cent of respondents said they had found it difficult to get a GP appointment within the last year, while 9.5 per cent said they had struggled to get a mental health appointment and 23.5 per cent having trouble getting a hospital appointment.

In the comments, people said the GP's triage team had "felt like a barrier" and that they would prefer to see the same doctor when they need healthcare so the person seeing them knows their medical history.

Of those who struggled to get appointments, 70.5 per cent said this was due to none being available, while 59.9 per cent cited long waiting times on the phone.

Despite the issues faced by patients, 58.3 per cent still had a mostly positive experience with the hospital services they were able to access, while only 5.9 per cent saying their experience was mostly negative.

Residents were also asked how far they would prefer to travel for medical treatment, with 71.7 per cent willing to travel for 15 minutes for a pharmacy (as opposed to 30 minutes, an hour or over an hour).

For an operation or procedure, 47.2 per cent of respondents would be willing to travel for an hour, while 20.8 per cent were willing to travel for over an hour.

In general, respondents aged 44 and below were slightly more willing to travel further than those age 45 and over.

Patients who travelled outside Royston for healthcare appointments mostly did so by car.

Residents were asked what health services they felt they were unable to easily access in and around Royston.


Of those who responded, many said they wanted diagnostic capacity in the area, such as blood tests, X-Rays and MRI machines.

Others mentioned difficulties getting appointments locally, and how far they had to travel to access healthcare from Addenbrooke's, particularly for people reliant on public transport.

The majority of people who responded to the survey were aged 60 or over, and in the next phase the ICS is hoping to actively engage more people under 44.

Kit Connick, chief officer for strategy and partnerships with NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, said: "Our partnership will use the feedback we’ve received to improve how we provide health and care services in and around Royston, so that the community can get the care they need now and in the future.

"We will continue to listen to local people as we work together for healthier futures."