Thousands of people across Dorset have shared their views on GP surgeries, hospitals and social care in a bid to help shape the county's services.

Healthwatch Dorset has published the results of its 2018/19 impact report, which aims to get residents sharing their good and bad experiences of using its services.

A total of 3,695 people - more than ever before - gave their views as part of the report from the health watchdog, which tackles issues including access to NHS dental treatment in care homes, patients' experiences of being discharged from hospital, and choosing a care home.

A team of 75 Healthwatch Dorset volunteers helped carry out engagement work at 32 local services to understand people's experiences of health and care.

Volunteers listened to the views of more than 230 women to find out about their experiences of cervical screening services, which will help inform local GPs and the national Cervical Screening Programme. Healthwatch groups across the region worked with Wessex Voices to find out what stopped women from attending screening appointments.

A survey was also carried out at all care homes in Dorset, to find out about residents' experiences when accessing dental treatment. Healthwatch Dorset found 38 per cent of residents at the homes that responded to its survey didn’t receive any dental services at all. 59 per cent of homes said their residents received poor or average dental services, whilst 41 per cent said they received good or excellent services.

Teams also spoke to people who had been discharged from hospital to find out about the issues they faced when going home. Following talks between former patients and volunteers, Healthwatch Dorset has recommended that patient discharge should involve the patient, family, friends and carers, and plans should be shared in written form with clear information that gives people the opportunity to ask questions and express concerns.

Louise Bate, Healthwatch Dorset manager, said: “I want to say a huge thank you to our wonderful team of volunteers and to everyone who has shared their views with us.

"We’re now on the lookout for new steering group members to join the team and help set the work priorities for the year ahead.

"Everyone’s health and care story is vital to the work we do and we look forward to helping more people have their say over health and care services over the coming year."

To read the full report, visit: