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Your voice on health and social care

Bicester people worried that health services can’t keep up with town’s growth


People in Bicester are worried that health and care services in the town are not keeping pace with the town’s expansion. That is one of the findings in a new report from Healthwatch Oxfordshire, the county’s independent health and social care watchdog.

 Residents told Healthwatch Oxfordshire that as the town grew, they were becoming increasingly concerned about the availability of adequate health and social services and their ability to access them. There is a strong perception among people in Bicester that health and care services available do not meet the needs of the growing population.

Services singled out for particular concern were NHS dentistry and GP surgeries, where lack of availability and long waiting times for appointments were frequently cited as problems.

 Researchers from Healthwatch Oxfordshire spoke to about 450 people during a two-week period in the autumn, at markets, voluntary groups and other events.

 Healthwatch Oxfordshire has already taken action on some if its findings, including contacting NHS England about the shortage of dentists, and writing to Oxfordshire County Council’s Head of Adult Social Care, Kate Terroni, raising concerns about changes to adult day care services.

Rosalind Pearce, Executive Director of Healthwatch Oxfordshire, said: “We now urge service commissioners and providers to use this report as a starting point to produce a detailed plan for future health and social care provision for Bicester. Any plan needs to take fully into account the most up-to-date estimates of the likely extent, nature and timing of the projected population growth in the area.”

She added: “While there is no doubt people are very happy with the standard of care they receive, there is a genuine fear over whether this high standard can be maintained in the future, unless service providers start planning sufficiently.”

 The report is available to read and download at http://www.healthwatchoxfordshire.co.uk/healthwatchoxfordshirereports

 It can also be downloaded below.