Healthwatch Hartlepool News - June 2021
Longfield appointed by NHS to help transform care of children and young people with a learning disability and autism
As the new independent chair of the Learning Disability and Autism Children and Young People’s Steering Group, Anne will champion the rights of children and young people to ensure they get the support they need at the right time and work closely with the Ministerial led ‘Building the Right Support Board’.
Claire Murdoch, National Director of Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism welcomed the appointment and said: “Anne has shown remarkable commitment and dedication to improving the lives of children and young people and is ideally placed to continue this work, ensuring the needs of this vitally important group are highlighted and prioritised so their outcomes are improved.”
Anne has over 30 years’ experience working in the children’s sector and recently ended her six-year tenure as the Children’s Commissioner for England where she advocated for and championed the rights, wellbeing and safeguarding of children and young people.
She has also spent time in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit at the Cabinet Office developing and shaping the agenda for children and families.
Anne Longfield OBE said: “I am delighted to have been invited to chair the Learning Disability and Autism Children and Young People’s Steering Group and to work with the Building the Right Support Board.
“This is a time of change and my role will be to ensure that priorities for children and young people are understood and addressed.
“I hope that together we will make real progress and difference to the lives of children and young people with a learning disability and autism and their families.”
Anne will also continue to oversee the work of the taskforce for children and young People’s mental health, learning disability and autism inpatient services, as chair of the Independent Oversight Board. The taskforce is driving forward a programme of measures to improve the quality of inpatient services.
Teresa Fenech, Director of Nursing and Quality Improvement Taskforce Director: “Anne has chaired the Oversight Board for the Taskforce since its inception and we are so pleased she will also now chair the Learning Disability and Autism children and young people’s steering group.
“The work of the two groups have strong alignments and this will only support our work as we move forward at pace to ensure young people receive the high-quality inpatient care that they deserve.”
Anne takes over from Jane Ramsey, chair for the past four years, who stepped down in December.
Twin crisis of access and affordability calls for a radical rethink of NHS dentistry
New data indicates the dental crisis shows no signs of slowing, with four in five people (80%) struggling to access timely care during the last COVID-19 lockdown. Access to NHS dental care continues to be a problem for people across England, with Healthwatch recording a 22% rise in calls and complaints about dentistry between
January and March 2021.
Healthwatch England`s review of 1,375 people’s experiences shared with Healthwatch found a lack of consistency across the country when it comes to accessing a dental appointment. Whilst some people were asked to wait an unreasonable time of up to three years for an NHS appointment, those able to afford private care could get an appointment within a week.
High cost of dental care
Whilst some people were charged £400 to get one tooth out, an individual reported being asked to pay over £7,000 for their dentures privately. But private treatment is not an option for everyone, with many people now struggling to pay even for NHS treatment. A poll of 2,019 adults commissioned by us found 61% of respondents felt that NHS dental treatments were expensive. The poll, which looked at people’s experiences of NHS dentistry during the pandemic and how it has impacted their future habits, found the following:
- People's experiences of NHS dental charges Over a quarter (27%) of respondents said they either struggle to pay or avoid dental treatments altogether because they cannot afford the costs. About one in three (30%) have reported they felt pressured into paying private fees to get all the dental treatment they needed. And nearly two in five (39%) reported that they had been charged extra for their NHS treatments.
- Calling for equitable and affordable dental care - Imelda Redmond CBE, National Director of Healthwatch England said, “The twin crisis of access and affordability hitting NHS dentistry means many people are not able to access timely care and the poorest are hardest hit. Those human stories show that oral health is a social justice and equity issue. Reform of dental contracts needs to be a matter of urgency for this Government.
- New arrangements should include making access to NHS dental services equal and affordable for everyone, regardless of where people live, their income and ethnicity.
Failing to act now will result in long-term harm for thousands of people, putting even greater pressure on the already overstretched healthcare system.”
Income and regional disparities
People living in the North East of England are the most likely to avoid NHS dental treatment due to costs (13%), compared with just one in 30(3%) who live in the South West. Despite this, people in the North East have been charged for NHS dental treatments the most (29%), while people in the South West were charged the least (13%).
People from ethnic minority groups
Just over a quarter of people from ethnic minority communities (26%) reported they would go to the dentist for regular check-ups, compared to two in five (41%) of White people. The survey also found that people aged over 55 from ethnic minority groups who are on low incomes were six times more likely to report avoiding dental treatments due to costs than their White counterparts.
New guide for LGBT patients on what to expect from their doctor
A new guide for lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) patients, setting out what they should expect from their doctor, has been published to coincide with the start of Pride Month by the General Medical Council (GMC). The medical regulator has produced the guide – its first aimed specifically at LGBT patients – in conjunction with LGBT rights charity Stonewall and LGBT doctors’ organisation GLADD. It makes clear that all patients, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or trans status, should be treated fairly and without discrimination, should have their confidentiality respected, and must not be denied access to appropriate treatment or healthcare services because of a doctor’s personal beliefs. The GMC already has core guidance, for doctors, on the standards that all patients should expect. The new LGBT patient information includes examples of what LGBT patients should and shouldn’t expect from their doctor and what to do if they are concerned about their care.
The GMC’s guide for LGBT patients is available online at ww.gmc-uk.org/ethical-guidance/patientguides-and-materials/lgbt-patient-guide
Teesside Age UK Welfare Benefits Advice
Are you aged 50+ and live in the Hartlepool area? We can offer free home visits for:
- Welfare & Benefit Checks
- Assistance with Form Filling
- General Benefit Advice
- Telephone Advice
For more information or to book an appointment, please contact Angela on: 07921 464127
Age UK Teesside is a registered charity. Registered Charity No. 702714
Unhappy with your NHS treatment or care?
NHS Advocacy is now provided by North East NHS Independent Complaints Advocacy (ICA), supporting individuals com-plaining about the NHS.
Freephone: 0808 802 3000. For further in-formation please visit; www.carersfederation.co.uk
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