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Dorset patients reveal their concerns over local healthcare

Health Care

Published at 8:13am 22nd April 2018.

Healthwatch Dorset has been out and about in Weymouth all week holding roadshows to find out what's important to the people who live there.

The main issues that came up in the roadshows were dentistry, transport and physiotherapy referrals.

Engagement and communications lead for Healthwatch, Louise Bate, said the cost of and access to dentistry was high on the agenda:

"I spoke to an older man who had been with the same dentist in Weymouth for years but when he tried to get an appointment there he was told that he'd been removed from their register and they had no more NHS spaces. He now has to travel to Dorchester, which is difficult on public transport because he has mobility issues.

"However, people said the monthly dental clinic at Weymouth Hospital for people who are homeless is a great service - the Bus Shelter and the Lantern both told us that their clients rely on this clinic and always speak highly of it."

Louise added that transport in general can be a significant problem across the board:

"People told us how difficult it can be to get to appointments in Dorchester and Poole. I heard from someone who's receiving cancer treatment in Poole Hospital and is finding the regular journey very costly and a real struggle."

The team shared information about community car schemes in Weymouth, such as Community Angels and Weymouth Neighbourhood car.

Some people also highlighted physiotherapy referral wait times, especially for those who have long term conditions that can flare up.

Healthwatch also spoke to students at Weymouth College. Louise said:

"Students talked to us about mental health and wellbeing. Some of them felt that they don't get the support from health services that they need soon enough - and that's a common theme from all our work with young people, the need to be listened to and receive early help, before problems become more serious."

Here's a film Healthwatch made with some of the students last September:

There is a Healthwatch Dorset board meeting on Monday 30th April 6pm at St Aldhems Hall in Spa Road, Weymouth and people are welcome to attend to find out more and share their experience of health and care services.

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