This section provides information about the main types of local NHS health and social care services.
Since 1st April 2006 new dental contracts between dentists and Local Health Boards have resulted in changes to the dental system in Wales. Patients are no longer registered with a particular dentist, but a dentist may keep a list of patients for whom they provide regular treatment. They may also offer treatment as a private patient. It is then for an individual to decide whether to accept that arrangement or look for another dentist who provides NHS care. There are three standard charges for NHS treatment.
Dentists are no longer responsible for providing out of hours treatment when the surgery is closed. This service is now the responsibility of Local health Boards.
There are 3 different types of optical practitioner:
- Optometrists - also known as ophthalmic opticians, are trained professionals who examine eyes, give advice on visual problems, and prescribe glasses and contact lenses. They can also refer cases of eye disease where appropriate.
- Ophthalmic Medical Practitioners (OMPs) - are medical doctors specialising in eye-care. They examine eyes, diagnose abnormalities and prescribe suitable corrective lenses.
- Dispensing Opticians - make up prescriptions from optometrists. They may fit and supply spectacles, contact lenses and other optical appliances, but do not perform eye examinations.
In addition to those provided by High Street pharmacies, pharmacy services are also accessible from a range of superstores, frequently operating outside the usual High Street opening hours.
Pharmacists are highly trained, qualified professionals with an expert understanding of medications. In addition to dispensing prescribed medication, they can provide free, expert advice on medicines and related subjects.
Health, Wellbeing and Support
Social Services - (non NHS)
Social Services are local authority departments offering a range of services that provide support to vulnerable people in need, including those with physical or mental disabilities, children in need of care and protection and people experiencing chronic ill health and those who care for them.
Social Services work closely with other local authority departments and agencies, including local NHS services and voluntary organisations, in delivering help and support in the form of services such as education teams, community drug and mental health teams, child-protection services and services for the elderly.
- Abortion counselling
- Cervical smears
- Contraception (including emergency)
- Pregnancy Testing
- Vasectomy & Female Sterilisation advice
- Psycho sexual counselling
Fertility clinics can provide help to those who are not able to conceive naturally. There are several methods of assisted conception that can be used to help people in this situation.
GPs can refer patients to GUM Clinics for Sexually Transmitted Infection tests, although it is possible to make an appointment at some GUM Clinics without a referral. Some clinics offer a drop in service but others require an appointment.
Youth Advisory Clinics are specifically for young people. Some clinics specify age restriction but most will see people up to the age of 25. They offer free and confidential advice on a number of topics that affect young people such as:
- Sexual health
- Pregnancy testing.
Accident & Emergency
Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust
A dedicated and skilled staff work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to make sure patients receive the best possible care.
Local Health Boards
They have a national remit - The Welsh Ambulance Services Trust for emergency services, and Velindre NHS Trust offering specialist services in cancer care and a range of national support services. Public Health Wales is an NHS organisation providing professionally independent public health advice and services to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of the population of Wales. You can find more information on each of the Trusts via the NHS Wales Directory and on their websites below: