Patients, doctors and dentists to try to resolve appointment shortages in Lancaster and Morecambe

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Patients, doctors and dentists will be invited for interviews in 2022 to examine the difficulties in obtaining appointments and care in the Lancaster and Morecambe district.

Lancaster City Council’s Overview & Scrutiny advisers are calling for meetings to bring different people and organizations together, to hear their experiences and to see if services can be scaled up.

There are questions to ask about the availability of NHS and private dental and medical care, and whether the region’s clinical commissioning group is planning or paying for the right kinds of health services the district needs, think the advisers.

A number of counselors have described personal experiences of waiting for a dental appointment or of no longer receiving routine calls from dentists to make appointments.

Earlier this year Lancaster City Council was informed that the current system of primary care for doctors’ offices was’ dysfunctional ‘and that the current NHS competition system’ was not working ‘.

The comments came from the leader of the Conservative advisor group, Councilor Richard Austen-Baker, during a debate in the fall. Speaking at the time, he called on the city council to take action to encourage the establishment of at least one new independent NHS primary care practice in the district, including Morecambe, and for the general expansion of general medical services.

He also called on the wrap-up and review committee, which aims to hold city council to account, to hold an annual meeting to discuss healthcare with representatives from NHS bodies, including the local clinical commissioning group (CCG).

The structure of the Clinical Commissioning Group was established by a previous Conservative government. CCGs are typically run by local doctors, working with other primary care professionals such as community nurses, who see patients and also order (purchase) services for patients from local hospitals, mental health units or ambulance services.

Elsewhere, the national body NHS England funds specialist hospital services, such as cancer care or heart surgery. However, further changes in the health system are expected with the creation by the government of integrated health care systems. This is designed to coordinate health and social care services between local doctors, organizations and NHS boards.

Coun Austen-Baker is also chairman of City Council’s Overview & Committee, which discussed doctors and dentists at its last meeting in December.

He said: “Lancashire County Council deals with health care at a highly strategic level. For example, it looks at county wide issues, big issues like cardiac treatment. It doesn’t look at why. the people of Morecambe cannot get an appointment with a general practitioner, so it might be good to meet at that level [the committee] for exchanges between residents and healthcare providers. “

Labor council David Whitaker said: “Dentists have stopped doing checkups for a lot of people in Morecambe since the pandemic. It is a concern for a lot of people.”

Councilor Austen-Baker added: “Many dentists are now private. If these dentists aren’t able to see patients privately for a fee, that’s a problem.

“The lack of private GPs in this area adds to the picture locally. Private GPs can ease the burden on the NHS. In London it was common to have NHS practices with both public and private patients. However, in d ‘other areas, newer practices tend to be totally private. I think we have to see health care and dental care all over the place. “

Councilor Whitaker added, “We should see what the clinical commissioning groups have to offer. Is commissioning adequate?

Labor Council Alan Biddulph said: “It has been two years since I saw the dentist.”

Councilor Austen-Baker added, “My dentist has stopped calling me.

“We need to at least talk to the clinical commissioning group. We can ask a few questions ahead of time and maybe think about who else we’d like to invite. A group of patients. Representatives of local doctors. We have a few of them so we would need to make room for them in our meetings. “

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