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Healthwatch Dorset’s Annual Report shows how public feedback has improved health and care

by | Jun 30, 2022 | Healthwatch Dorset, Local Healthwatch

Last year (April 2021-March 2022), Healthwatch Dorset supported more than 4,700 people to have their say on health and social care and to get the right information and advice about local services.

In its latest Annual Report, Championing what matters to you, Healthwatch Dorset highlights how it worked throughout the year to understand people’s health and care needs, and to use public feedback to help NHS and social care services improve care in Dorset. The report also outlines work planned for 2022-23.

The year in numbers

  • In total, 4,714 people shared feedback or sought information about health and care services.
  • 1,798 people shared their experiences of local health and social care services.
  • 2,916 people asked for information, advice, and support on how to get the care they need.
  • 62 volunteers supported Healthwatch Dorset last year, giving up 140 hours of their time to make care better for their community.
  • Healthwatch Dorset published five reports about the improvements people would like to see to health and social care services

Healthwatch Dorset’s reports and how public feedback has made a difference

1. Dorset’s COVID vaccination programme: Dorset NHS Clinical Commissioning Group used public feedback from this report to improve their communications about the vaccination programme and to inform their decision to set up up additional vaccine pop up centres at community venues and churches.

2. A&E at Poole Hospital and Dorset County Hospital: Most people told Healthwatch Dorset they were happy with A&E services but there were some areas for improvement. Both hospitals have used public feedback to improve facilities, to develop clearer information for patients, and to enhance staff training. The new A&E department at Dorset County Hospital will be informed by this report.

3. Tackling inequalities in health and social care – Promoting the voice of Dorset’s homeless community. This report highlighted the health and care needs of people who are homeless and the challenges they face when trying to access vital care and support. It has influenced Dorset and BCP Councils’ homelessness strategies, and the Care Quality Commission has used the report to inform their new strategy to tackle inequalities in health and social care.

4. Young people’s health and care services: Young people told Healthwatch Dorset they want services to communicate better and to improve how care is coordinated. BCP and Dorset Council’s Special Educational Needs offers have been informed by this report. Healthwatch Dorset are now involved in Ofsted inspections, and they continue to work with Children’s Services and the local NHS to implement young people’s recommendations for improvement.

5. Accessing NHS dental Care in Dorset: This report alerted NHS leaders that people were struggling to get NHS dental care in Dorset, as they are across the country. Healthwatch Dorset’s findings have supported Healthwatch England’s call for the Government and NHS England to reform NHS dental care to tackle the problems of access and affordability

Announcing the annual report, Viv Aird, Chair of the Healthwatch Dorset Steering Group, said: “We are passionate about giving people the opportunity to share their experiences of using services and making sure their feedback reaches the powers that be and leads to positive change, locally and nationally. Our annual report shows some of the ways we achieved this last year. Going forward, we are committed to championing better care for everyone, including those who often go unheard. We will continue to work closely with the NHS, local councils, care providers and the voluntary sector, sharing people’s concerns and queries to help improve services and to reduce the barriers people face when trying to get the care they need.”

Healthwatch Dorset priorities for 2022-23

  • Dentistry
  • Access to GPs – for people with mental health problems, children and young people
  • Carers – supporting loved ones leaving hospital to receive care at home and in the community.

Read the full Healthwatch Dorset Annual Report 2021-22 to find out more about their work during the past year, including findings and recommendations for changes to services.

Find out more about Healthwatch Dorset by signing up for regular news updates.

Share your views and experiences of Dorset’s health and care services.

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