Worcester News Article – 30th May

We were joined at our Public Board Meeting last week by NHS England and NHS Improvement Midlands. They gave an interesting presentation about some of the current challenges for NHS Dental services and local plans to try and address them. They explained how Covid-19 infection control measures combined with a shortage of NHS Dentists have affected services. Although Dental practices are now operating at 95% of pre pandemic levels, there is a huge backlog.

A key message was that patients do not need to be registered with a practice to receive treatment. Therefore, requesting an appointment for a specific need may be more successful than asking to register with the practice. Initiatives have been set up locally to provide more capacity, including schemes which offer weekend clinics and extra urgent treatment slots. The NHS is working with Worcestershire County Council on oral health promotion and more specifically trying to ensure patients at risk of oral cancer are picked up and referred. However, to resolve the issue of access to NHS Dentistry, changes are needed at a national level to tackle workforce shortages.

Our next opportunity for the public to join us is our Annual Conference at Sixways Conference Centre in Worcester on Thursday 30th June. We have now confirmed our agenda for the day. In addition to presentations about our recent work and reports, we will be having a session looking at how the NHS in Herefordshire and Worcestershire will engage with people and communities when they form a new Integrated Care System in July. We will also be holding a panel session of local health and social care leaders, with an opportunity for attendees to ask questions. This will include the Chief Executive of NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Children First, Interim Strategic Director for People at Worcestershire County Council, Chair of Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust and Secretary of Worcestershire Local Medical Committee, representing GP Practices. Please get in touch if you would like to book a place to come and join us.

Please visit our website for more information or to share your experiences of local health and care services – www.healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk or get in touch on 01386 550264 or info@healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk