Lincolnshire people have made it clear that NHS dentistry needs to be improved so it’s affordable and accessible.
Access to NHS dental care continues to be one of the main issues Healthwatch Lincolnshire hear about from the public. Difficulties getting support has led to many people living in pain.
As far back as 2015, the number of poor experiences shared with by residents about substandard dentistry has been continuous, and Healthwatch Lincolnshire has been raising these concerns about the decline on behalf of our residents. During this time, Healthwatch have consistently worked closely to raise concerns withLincolnshire MPs and Councillors, NHS Lincolnshire ICB, NHS England Midlands Dental Commissioning Team, Healthwatch England, as well as with local and regional dental networks. Healthwatch Lincolnshire also contributed to the National Parliamentary NHS Dentistry enquiry and provided evidence for the Health Select Committee.
Dean Odell , Healthwatch Lincolnshire Contract manager said:
“We know that people from the most deprived communities struggle the most to access dental care because they cannot afford it. Although we welcome NHS England’s recent changes to the dental contract, we believe further reform is needed to fix the issues.”
In the latest report Lincolnshire residents told Healthwatch…
1. The lack of NHS dental care is having a negative impact on peoples' immediate and future health
2. Existing NHS patients are finding their NHS practice is now solely private
3. Other patients throughout the county have never had the opportunity to have an NHS dentist due to lack of services
4. Patients are being left with no alternative but to pay for private treatment (however, many cannot afford this)
5. Individuals are routinely travelling to other counties for NHS dental services
What needs to happen?
Healthwatch Lincolnshire believe that action in four areas needs to be taken to address the issues that people have shared.
- A more rapid and radical reform of the way dentistry is commissioned and provided
- Address the twin crises of access and affordability
- Provide better information about NHS dentistry
- Create dental hubs to provide more holistic health care,
Healthwatch Lincolnshire continues to monitor the feedback received to find out whether changes are making any real improvement for people - particularly children and adults who require urgent treatment. Healthwatch will continue to work with NHS England to ensure that people’s views are able to influence the future of NHS dentistry.
Healthwatch will also be focusing their attention on those who are living in deprived and rurally isolated areas, cancer patients, wheelchair users, pregnant women, parents, those with sensory loss as well as the dental workforce themselves.
If you would like to share your views on NHS dentistry in Lincolnshire contact Healthwatch by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01205 820 892
You can read the full report here.