Our report shows almost 1 in 5 people are not registered with a dentist

Healthwatch Lancashire has published a report which is being used by NHS England to understand the demand for dental care in Lancashire.  

 Your Dentist Your Say ReportA “Your Dentist, Your Say” report has been published by Healthwatch Lancashire based on the findings from a research study with more than 1,000 residents of Lancashire to identify issues relating to access to NHS dental services.

NHS England have provided a response to the findings which is included in the report which show that although many people are happy with receiving private dental care there are those who would like NHS dental treatment but have been unsuccessful in accessing services.

The report shows that across Lancashire 63% of people said that they are registered with a NHS dentist, 19% said that they are registered with a private dentist whilst 18% of people said that they were not registered with a dentist.

Lancaster and Blackpool received the lowest percentage of people being registered with a NHS or private dental practice with one in four people not being registered.

The survey, which was developed by a group of NHS dentists, aimed to help understand how people in Lancashire would like to register for NHS dental treatment and when and where they would like this to take place. NHS England confirmed that the findings have already been used to change the opening times of a new practice being procured in Lancaster. 

NHS England have also stated that new funding is being invested in the county on dental access meaning that existing practices can open earlier, for longer hours or at the weekend.

Healthwatch Lancashire Chief Executive, Gill Brown, commented: “I would like to thank the people in Lancashire who shared their views and experiences of accessing dental services and particularly our dedicated volunteers who made a significant contribution to the project.” 

Healthwatch Lancashire gathered a number of stories from people in Lancashire whilst carrying out the research. 

Healthwatch Lancashire heard from Joanne in Morecambe who said, “I am currently suffering from severe wisdom tooth pain after it was not removed completely by an emergency dentist. I have so far had to wait 14 weeks for oral surgery which is affecting my work and also well-being.”

Healthwatch Lancashire heard from Carol in Chorley who commented, “I think the NHS dental service is far from what it used to be.  Dentists do not offer the same standard and consistency of treatment from area to area and I have therefore lost confidence in the standard of care. It is appalling that dentists recommend you see the practice’s “Hygienist” at extra cost and that this has been made into a separate treatment. I have had chemotherapy and radiotherapy in the past and received no extra care. I now have type 2 diabetes along with other medical conditions and I feel totally neglected, I have broken and loose teeth and feel I have no alternative but to accept losing them due to circumstance.  This effected my self-confidence, my smile and is most depressing.“

Healthwatch Lancashire heard from Nicola in Lancaster who said, “I’ve kept my dentist in Morecambe because there are so few NHS dentists. My children go there, she knows my fear of needles and I’m really happy with the service.”Healthwatch Lancashire uses the information people share about services such as hospitals, GP practices, dentists, health centres, residential care homes and pharmacies to encourage, support and influence service improvement by listening to the experiences of people using the services.”

Click here to read the full report


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