York dental services report will be published “before the end of the year”

The York Council says that a report on the future of dental health in the City – promised last year – will be published before the end of 2019

The new timetable has been supplied in response to a Freedom of Information request.

There has been continuing concern in the City about lack of vacancies at local dentists for NHS patients. Recently the only recorded vacancies for new patients on the NHS web site were, ironically, at the Bupa practice.

NHS web site listings

Healthwatch York published a report into dental services in the City last year. (Their web site is down at the moment)

The FOI response says, “An Oral Health Strategy has been drafted for children and young people, in response to data obtained from an oral health needs assessment carried out recently. This strategy will be published by the end of 2019“.

However, it goes on to say that the Councils public health department doesn’t monitor the waiting list for services. It says that is a an NHS responsibility.

We have been unable to find any recent figures indicating the overall length of dental waiting lists in the City.

Healthwatch York under review by York Council

The Healthwatch organisation will be reporting to a York Council meeting on Wednesday about their role.

The report comes a few months after the local NHS Vale of York CCG asked the organisation to leave the health bodies governing board.

This led some to wonder whether the “voice of patients” was being properly heeded by the health commissioning body.

Other wondered whether Healthwatch had sufficient gravitas to be effective?

No doubt more will become clearer on Wednesday

The latest contract for Healthwatch was issued by the York Council as recently as April. The contracts value is £575,000 over 5 years. It was let via York CVS

The contract states, “Healthwatch York is for anyone who uses or who wishes to use adult and children’s health, social care and public health services in York – or anyone who cares for or represents individuals who have access to health, social care and public health services in York.

Healthwatch York has a duty to assist local health, social care and public health commissioners and providers, and other community stakeholders, by advising on and helping design engagement activity, and by providing feedback, research and information on local people’s views and experiences of health, social care and public health, in order to drive up standards of service provision.

Healthwatch York must also be able to signpost local people with any complaints they may wish to progress in relation to NHS service provision to the York Independent NHS Complaints Advocacy Service which has been procured by the Council under a separate contract with a provider (in a simultaneous procurement exercise) expressly for these purposes”.

Many eyes are on NHS performance these days.

Healthwatch contract

One area for improvement would involve Healthwatch pulling together each month some key performance stats. They are already available but are difficult for the average resident to find. Area to be covered might include:

  • A & E speed and quality
  • Ambulance speed and quality
  • Waiting times
  • Delayed discharges
  • GP patient volumes and appointment waiting times
  • NHS dentists waiting lists