Worcester News Article – 16th May

Many people have contacted us over the last year about difficulties accessing NHS Dental treatment. In particular being unable to find a local NHS Dentist who will accept new patients. We are aware that this is an issue across the country and that restrictions on the way in which Dentists have had to operate since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic have contributed to this. A report published by Healthwatch England last week found that 20% of respondents had not been able to access all the dental treatment they had required and 24% said they have had to pay privately to access the treatment they needed. There is concern that the current situation will hit those on lower incomes hardest and widen health inequalities.

We have been gathering your feedback about the situation locally and feeding this back to the NHS and Worcestershire’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The Deputy Head of Primary Care Commissioning from NHS England and NHS Improvement Midlands will be attending our online Public Board Meeting next Thursday 26th May to give an update about how the current system for NHS Dentistry works, plans to increase supply of NHS dentistry in Worcestershire and answer questions. Everyone is welcome to join us for the meeting at 10am via Zoom. Joining instructions will be on our website.

We are delighted that on 30th June we will be to be able to hold our Annual Conference in person for the first time since 2019. The day will include presentations about the work we have carried out over the last year and discussion about future plans for local health and social care services as part of a newly formed Integrated Care System. We will also be holding a panel session of local health and social care leaders, with an opportunity for members of the public to ask questions. The day runs from 10am to 3pm at Sixways Conference Centre in Worcester and includes a buffet lunch. Please get in touch if you would be interested in attending to reserve a place.

Please visit our website www.healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk for more information about our Public Board Meeting and Annual Conference and to share your experiences of local health and social care services in confidence. Or contact info@healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk or 01386 550264.