Healthwatch warns of dentistry crisis

Graham Robson February 11, 2021

Healthwatch England has announced a dental crisis as a result of local Healthwatch, including Brighton & Hove, sharing concerns from local people trying to access dental services during the pandemic. 

Healthwatch Brighton & Hove spoke to local people about accessing dental services under Covid-19 and were told:

– 60% found it difficult or very difficult to find an NHS dental service to help them

– 25% never heard back from the dental service they contacted; more than three days elapsed before 38% heard back about an initial consultation

– 59% were dissatisfied with waiting times to see someone

Read the full findings from the survey by CLICKING HERE

Healthwatch Brighton & Hove has raised these issues with NHS England who commission dental services, local MPs, and local NHS leaders.

Healthwatch has also provided findings to the Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, asking NHS commissioners to improve access to dental services and clarify important issues for the public. They have also spoken to local MPs to table these concerns to the Secretary of State for Health.

Healthwatch Brighton & Hove is currently reviewing dental practice websites and out of hours phone numbers to find out what local people are being advised and this is what they have found so far:

– Thirteen dental practices do not have any information on services being offered under the current lockdown

– Eight dental practices are not clear as to whether they are offering NHS appointments (in addition to private appointments only) 

– Fifteen dental practices do not mention prioritising patients according to urgency or for patients with previously cancelled appointments

– None of the practice websites mention the NHS Dental helpline and only three refer patients to the Brighton & Hove Emergency Dental service (in the case of urgent need).  

The full report will be made available in the coming weeks. 

David Liley, CEO, Healthwatch Brighton & Hove, said: “Based on local views, we are championing the cause for people in Brighton and Hove. It is great to see that our local findings have helped raise these important issues nationally, through Healthwatch England.”