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Healthwatch Dorset Annual Report: Working together to improve health and social care

by | Jun 29, 2023 | Healthwatch Dorset, Local Healthwatch

Last year (April 2022-March 2023), Healthwatch Dorset supported over 2,000 people to have their say on health and social care and to get information and advice about local services.

In its latest Annual Report, Together we’re making health and social care better, Healthwatch Dorset highlights how it has listened to Dorset residents and shared their feedback to help NHS and social care decision makers prioritise the issues that matter most to local people.

Here are some of the main ways patient and public feedback was used to influence and inform improvements in local services.

Improving patient experience at Dorset County Hospital A&E: Healthwatch Dorset’s recommendations, based on public feedback, have informed A&E refurbishment plans, including a new entrance and waiting area, larger resuscitation rooms, bigger cubicles, a new digital system, and better facilities. (Read the report)

Better support for carers when their loved one is discharged from hospital to home: Healthwatch Dorset asked carers about their experiences of the Dorset Home First service, the process for discharging patients from hospital and supporting them to recover at home. Carers’ feedback is being used to help redesign the service so that it works better for patients, carers, and staff. In addition, NHS Dorset has created new leaflets about the service to help carers and the Hospital Carer Passport has been introduced. (Read the report)

Advocating for better NHS dental care in Dorset: Healthwatch Dorset investigated ongoing concerns around the lack of access to NHS dental care in the county and how people are affected by poor access to affordable treatment. They reported on the local situation to Dorset’s Integrated Care Board, the NHS Local Dental Network and Healthwatch England, calling for fairer access to NHS dental care. Recent developments in Dorset include a child-friendly dental pilot practice in the Wareham area, an additional 100 urgent care appointments every week across the county, and a stabilisation programme with initially 30 appointments every week for people who do not have a regular dentist. (Read the report)

Healthwatch Dorset also announced three new public engagement projects that it will work on during 2023-24, investigating people’s experiences of:

  • NHS dentistry and oral health
  • Urgent and emergency care
  • Children and young people’s mental health services.

Announcing the annual report, Viv Aird, Chair of the Healthwatch Dorset Board, said: “We have worked hard this year to ensure that people’s concerns are represented at local, regional, and national level to help make care better. However, health and social care services are under pressure and many people in Dorset tell us they still find it challenging to access services such as dentistry, GP appointments and social care assessments. In response, we have shared people’s feedback with the NHS and our local authorities to help them develop plans to improve access to local services.

“We will continue to highlight the issues that matter most to our local communities to help services find solutions to address people’s needs. In the coming year, our priorities will include further work around NHS dentistry and oral health, urgent and emergency care, and children and young people’s mental health services.”

Read the full Healthwatch Dorset Annual Report 2022-23 to find out more.

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