Healthwatch Cheshire have published a follow-up report on people's experiences of accessing dentistry services.
The number of people contacting us regarding NHS dentistry has remained high throughout 2021, and this follow-up report further details the queries and comments Healthwatch Cheshire are receiving.
The report will be shared with individual dental providers and NHS England to ensure that people's voices are heard.
Since June 2020, Healthwatch Cheshire has received increasing numbers of enquiries asking for details of local dental practices taking on new NHS patients across Cheshire. Issues have included inaccurate information listed on the NHS England website, a lack of NHS appointments or treatment available, long waits or having to register with a dentist outside of Cheshire, concerns about the Cheshire and Merseyside Emergency Dental Helpline, and people being unable to access a dentist due to them being deemed inactive.
In April 2021, Healthwatch published a report summarising the main issues raised by people in regard to dentistry. The report, along with all comments and feedback received, was shared with the individual dental providers, and NHS England who commission dentistry services. Healthwatch Cheshire have held regular meetings with the NHS England dentistry team in the North West, to raise the concerns shared with us by the public.
Ahead of publication, our report has also been presented at the Cheshire West and Chester Council Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee in February 2021 and shared with the Cheshire East Council Public Health team.
We have attempted to assist people through signposting and advice where appropriate, and have also been circulating NHS extra dental help leaflets to members of the public when on engagement activity so that they are aware what support is available.
Healthwatch Cheshire are continuing to monitor queries regarding dentistry and encourage anybody with issues accessing a dentist to share their experience with us on our online Feedback Centre.
For more information on how to find an NHS dentist, please click here.