Our priorities for April 2023 – March 2024
Following analysis of public feedback to identify common issues and concerns, and consultation with local health and care partners about national and local priorities, we will focus our work this year around the following areas and issues.
Children and young people’s mental health
We have followed up on our young people’s projects from the last three years and complement the NHS Dorset ‘Your Mind Your Say’ review by engaging with young people who don’t always have a strong voice. We visited groups that face inequalities to check and challenge the NHS redevelopment plans.
Our in-depth conversations with 23 young people based on thought-provoking questions, enabled us to identified key aspects of young people’s mental services that require improvement. Our report findings make several recommendations to address the issues raised and to help inform NHS Dorset’s current review of young people’s mental health services. Read our report (published October 2023).
Urgent and emergency care
NHS Dorset asked us to independently evaluate patient experiences to gauge their understanding of the different urgent and emergency healthcare settings, including Minor Injuries Units (MIU), hospital Emergency Departments (ED) and Urgent Treatment Centres (UTC), and to assess their accessibility. We also gathered insights from frontline staff about potential improvements to streamline services more effectively.
Based on feedback gathered in April 2023 from 56 patients, observational data, and conversations with healthcare staff, our report findings make several recommendations to NHS Dorset to help enhance public understanding and access to urgent and emergency care services. Read our report (published October 2023).
NHS dentistry and oral health
More people contacted us last year about NHS dentistry than any other service and it’s both a regional and national priority. Building on our 2022/23 reports on access to NHS dentistry, we have been commissioned by NHS Dorset to gather further insights, carry out focus groups and one-to-one discussions with voluntary sector groups, oral health educators, parent carers, dental staff, and local people. We will report on our findings and make recommendations to Dorset’s Integrated Care Board (ICB).
We aim to improve communication and information about NHS dentistry for local people, develop better access to NHS dentistry for vulnerable people, and improve children’s oral health education across Dorset.
The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on the impact of inequalities in health and social care services, particularly for those who are vulnerable, isolated, or marginalised, and for those who often go unheard. We will continue to address health inequalities throughout our work this year to help reduce the barriers some people face when accessing care.
Annual work plan
How our priorities are identified
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