Access to NHS dentistry has been one of the most significant issues people have raised nationally with Healthwatch England over the course of the pandemic. Dentists had to reduce their activities to control the spread of infection, although problems with accessing the service in some areas were prevalent before COVID. To understand more about people’s experiences in Rutland we carried out a quick poll to seek a snapshot of service user opinions locally.
113 people completed the poll:
- There were many comments from people saying they had no option but to use unaffordable or expensive private dental care
- Some patients were told that practices would only take private patients for urgent or emergency cases
- 26% of respondents said that no one in their household regularly visits a dentist
- 41% of respondents who do not regularly see an NHS dentist have tried to join an NHS dental ‘list’ within the last year
- There were many mentions of appointment delays, excessive waiting and appointment cancellations
Despite some positive comments about provision and care, the majority of respondents feel the provision of NHS dentistry doesn’t meet their needs or expectations.