• 3695 people – more than ever before – share their views of local health and care

  • Our reports have tackled issues on access to NHS dental treatment in care homes, patients’ experiences of being discharged from hospital, and choosing a care home

More than 3690 people have shared their views on the county’s GP surgeries, hospitals and social care over the last year with Healthwatch Dorset – helping to shape and improve those services for all.

In its latest Impact Report, published today, Healthwatch Dorset highlights how it has worked with communities across the county to make a difference to the way health and care services are run.

The year in numbers

  • Healthwatch Dorset heard from 3695 people who shared their views.
  • The team at Healthwatch Dorset visited 32 local services to understand people’s experiences of health and care.
  • Its dedicated team of 75 volunteers helped carry out engagement work.
  • And more than 2780 people accessed heath advice and support thanks to being pointed in the right direction by Healthwatch Dorset.

How your views have made a difference

  • Last year, Healthwatch Dorset listened to the views of over 230 women to find out about their experiences of cervical screening services to help inform local GPs and the national Cervical Screening Programme. Healthwatch groups across the region worked with Wessex Voices to find out what stopped women from attending screening appointments. They found out that many women didn’t know they were eligible for screening, some were put off going because they’d previously had a bad experience – and others thought it would be embarrassing and/or painful.
  • A survey was carried out of all the care homes in Dorset to find out about resident’s experiences when accessing dental treatment. Healthwatch Dorset found 38% of residents of the homes that responded to its survey didn’t receive any dental services at all. 59% of the homes that responded said their residents received poor or average dental services, whilst 41% said they received good or excellent services.
  • And Healthwatch Dorset also spoke to people who had been discharged from hospital to find out about the issues they faced when going home. A group of our volunteers spoke to over 70 patients on the wards at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and carried out 37 interviews 2-3 weeks after discharge. Following this, Healthwatch Dorset recommended patient discharge should involve the patient, family, friends and carers. Plans should be shared in written form, with clear information, that gives people the opportunity to ask questions and express any concerns.

Louise Bate, Healthwatch Dorset Manager, said: “I want to say a huge thank you to our wonderful team of volunteers and to everyone who has shared their views with us.

“We’re now on the look-out for new Steering Group members to join the team and help set the work priorities for the year ahead.

“Everyone’s health and care story is vital to the work we do and we look forward to helping more people have their say over health and care services over the coming year.”

To read the full report, click here: www.healthwatchdorset.co.uk/report-publications

To find out more about volunteering with Healthwatch Dorset visit: www.healthwatchdorset.co.uk/volunteer