KEIGHLEY people are being urged to share their experiences of local health and social care services to help drive improvements for all.

Healthwatch Bradford & District have issued the invitation talk to #SpeakUp as it reveals local people’s health priorities for 2018 based. The health watchdog last year gathered the views and experiences of more than1,600 residents across the district on health and social care

Access to primary care services such as GPs and dentists was identified as the district’s number one issue for 2018. The other three key priorities were mental health services, A&E departments/emergency care services, and social care support for older people and those with disabilities.

The priorities were identified during consultation in hospitals and other healthcare locations, transport hubs and shopping centres. This was part of a national HealthWatch consultation that involved 340,000 people.

Healthwatch Bradford & District is the independent champion for people who use health and social care services, sharing the public’s views with decision-makers within government and the health service.

A HealthWatch spokesman said access to primary care was by far the most commonly mentioned concern within Keighley and Bradford, with specific themes, including access and extended hours.

A spokesman said: “Access to primary care services has a knock-on effect, as long waits to be seen by a doctor or dentist can prevent people from receiving the right diagnosis, treatment or referral to specialist services.

“Local A&E services are an important aspect of health care, access to emergency services and having enough staff in A&E is vital.

“Mental health was a high priority, issue with care and support available to children and young people the most notable concern. The lack of mental health awareness, early intervention and difficulty accessing effective and appropriate support were key themes.”

The fourth priority was adult social care, particularly residential care homes and care to support older people in their own homes. Through focus groups and events people expressed concern that the need for social care was growing due to an ageing population, and they were worried about the system’s ability to meet demand.

Anyone who would like to give their view as part of #SpeakUp should visit or Twitter@HealthwatchBfd.