Access to Dentists.
A number of patients had contacted Healthwatch Sandwell during the COVID-19 pandemic as they have been unable to register with a National Health dentist.
Dentists were not taking on new patients and were not offering routine checks (due to COVID-19 restrictions). However, some patients were able to access a dentist for emergency treatment.
These issues are a national problem too and have been identified by Healthwatch England (HWE)1, resulting in Sir Robert Francis QC, Chair of HWE, and British Dental Association Chair Eddie Crouch co-signing an open letter addressed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Rishi Sunak) calling for a recovery plan for NHS dentistry2 and to request that the Spending Review provides vital investment in NHS dentistry.
Over the course of the pandemic, patients up and down the country have been unable to find care for themselves and their children, leaving them in pain and taking matters into their own hands. From April to June 2021, public feedback to HWE was up 55% on the previous three months. This feedback identified that nearly four in five people (79%) said they had found it difficult to access timely care.
To read the full report and see how the practices are operating please use the following link Access to dentists in Sandwell – March 2022